Canadian Official Calls On Google To Ban Crypto and ICO Ads

News | February 7, 2018 By:

Jason Roy, senior investigator for the Manitoba Securities Commission in Canada, has asked Google to follow Facebook in its advertising policies and ban all ads that relate to crypto and initial coin offerings (ICO)

On January 30, Facebook announced it was banning all ads for binary options, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs in an effort to stamp out what it characterizes as “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

“We’ve created a new policy that prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency,” Facebook product management director Rob Leathern wrote in a January 30 blog post announcing the advertising ban.

In response, Roy, who is also the chairman of Canada’s Binary Options Task Force, said: “We’re very pleased with Facebook’s decision. My hope is that Google will enact a similar policy, where they specifically name products like binary options, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies.”

Roy said that regulators have been in talks with Google regarding their concern and are waiting for Google to follow Facebook and enact a specific ban.

“What happened is that Canada’s Binary Options Task Force, as well as the FBI, explained to Facebook what the concerns were and that these types of ads are leading to people becoming victims,” said Roy. “We’ve been talking to Google and had similar discussions and are waiting for them to take similar action.”

Google spokeswoman Roni Levin said that they already have a ban in place that they enforce against misleading ads and misrepresentation. However, a quick search for “cryptocurrencies” or “ICOs” in the Google search bar reveals that Google is still selling ads for these products.

Roy also states that the explosion of the cryptocurrency marketplace is perplexing. He said: “I think everybody is trying to figure out what’s going on. There’s just been an explosion of different ICOs and new tokens and crazy offerings. You’re seeing ICOs that are raising large amounts of money and there’s nothing behind them in certain cases, but members of the public are so hyped they’re throwing money at them.”

Roy’s comments coincide with more general regulatory chatter from regulators who are increasingly seeking to reign in cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

On Tuesday, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton and Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo stated that cryptocurrency markets in the US require a coordinated regulatory scheme, and that the feds may need more power to enforce the rules.