Facebook blanket ban on crypto ads a “poor approach” to new ideas

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Off the back of news that Facebook is reversing its crypto ad ban, see below for commentary from some of the blockchain and crypto industry’s most renowned experts.

Iqbal Gandham, UK Managing Director at eToro, global investment platform said:

“We have always advocated for a more sophisticated approach to cryptocurrency advertising, as we believe legitimate providers shouldn’t be lumped in with rogue operators. Customer safety and education about the market should remain a priority, but a blanket ban is a poor approach to new ideas.

Technology giants like Facebook are aware of the potential of blockchain technology to fundamentally change the financial system, so it is good to see that they are giving their customers a chance to contribute.”

Shane Brett, Co-founder and CEO of GECKO Governance, said:

“Facebook first announced a ban on cryptocurrency related advertisements in January of this year, stating that too many companies in the space were “not currently operating in good faith”. They also argued that the advertising was misleading and had deceptive promotional practices, as well as citing the speculative and unregulated nature of the products themselves. These doubts cannot be argued with, particularly given the recent figures showing daily losses of investor money in the ICO space. Given the vast reach of Facebook, the ban is understandable to a certain extent, particularly since other big players such as Google followed suit soon after.

It now appears that Facebook is preparing to allow the advertising of cryptocurrencies, though under strict conditions, whilst ads relating to ICOs remain prohibited for the moment. The intention is that an application process paired with an ‘expert review’ will ensure that the ads permitted on the site are legitimate and appropriate for the consumer. While exact details on the particulars of the application process are presently vague, this is a considered move by Facebook.

The reversal of this policy is a welcome development. It indicates that Facebook may have taken the recent global upswing in regulation for cryptocurrencies into account when revising their policies, as well as the emergence of institutional investment in the space. Additionally, their renewed interest in blockchain technology and their investment in the same may have also contributed to this shift in policy.

We expect that Facebook will continue to evolve this policy as more regulation in the industry emerges and that other platforms will begin to follow suit.”

Antonio Romero, Orvium Co-founder and Technology Solution Architect, said:

“Every day we see more initiatives that aim to enrich this decentralized ecosystem, from new project funding technologies which are more aligned with company objectives, to governments enforcing AML policies on exchanges.

Facebook has most likely come to this decision based on the massive potential of this technology to disrupt many industries, leading it to create enough mechanisms to help ICO projects. This is an important step and I believe it will help other tech behemoths like Google and Twitter to lift the bans and restrictions they put in place earlier this year.”

James Tabor, CEO of MEDIA Protocol, said:

“The crypto space is very small compared to Facebook’s entire market. However, banning all crypto ads stifles the content and conversation which is core to Facebook’s business model. Certainly segments of their audience are interested in crypto, so excluding all paid content from an area of interest is bad for their model.”

“The verification steps implemented already indicate that they may relax ads promoting binary options and ICOs. But, I think their analysis has shown them that this was where the majority of bad actors were. If they accept projects back, it will have to be via a sterner test. Also, Facebook has to consider how it wishes to position itself regarding the changing regulatory landscape.”

Gianluca Giancola, Co-founder and Head of Design & UX at blockchain-powered loyalty ecosystem qiibee, commented:

“With Facebook launching a blockchain team, we can assume that it does indeed believe in the technology and is further exploring the application of it. As they have now put very strict guidelines in place around crypto advertising, and potential advertisers will have to go through a screening and approval process, it makes things much more secure, with the social media platform now less prone to scams being advertised. Facebook can also expect to boost its bottom line tremendously by becoming a major hub for crypto advertising.

However, it is unlikely to allow ICO marketing, at least in the medium-term, as ICOs continue to be highly risky. On a more fundamental level, a lot of the technology is still somewhat inaccessible to the mainstream, and invites a lot of quick-profit traders and fewer fundamental investors. It remains to be seen whether the likes of Google or Twitter will follow suit, however if they do, they are likely to introduce strict policies as well to avoid fraudulent advertising, since user security seems to be the biggest issue.”

Carlos Grenoir, CEO of Olyseum, said:

“The reasons for Facebook reversing its decision to ban crypto ads are not clear, but the motivation could have something to do with its own strategy regarding the evolving crypto space. The cryptocurrency ecosystem is expanding rapidly, and is growing its footprint in mainstream society, introducing new economic opportunities. We are also seeing regulatory authorities taking steps to provide security to the ecosystem that will in turn give strength to the global economy.

It would make sense for Facebook to also change its policy on ads promoting binary options and ICOs. I envision a future of decentralized technology, giving more power to the people and not limiting tech financing to large funds or entities. Once the ICO space is adequately regulated and devoid of scams, it is logical that key public channels will become part of the ICO ecosystem, opening the door to increased visibility for the space. A social network is perfect for this, and the promotion of ICOs can be perfect economically for social networks too.”

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