As we know, cryptocurrencies are the exact opposite of censorship. Given that censorship requires control from an authority, and that cryptocurrencies literally take control from the authorities, we can probably start to see why some major corporations wish to limit how those cryptocurrencies are presented to us.
Many major firms have already established rulings to prevent cryptocurrency advertising. Facebook, Twitter, Google and now it seems Microsoft are next in line to weigh in on this issue.
The bans, are marketed as something to protect people from scams, such as rogue ICO’s and other crypto-opportunities that are being presented as lucrative financial projects, when instead, they are very risky and often very dangerous programmes.
Of course, by removing cryptocurrency adverts, tech companies are going to protect some users from the risks of certain currencies and will of course protect some users from rogue ICO’s, however, by doing this, they are contributing to a culture that will eventually drive cryptocurrencies underground, something that the adoption armies are very much against. Look at prohibition for example, you ban alcohol and what happens?
Humans by nature seem to have a tendency to do the opposite of what they are told, therefore by banning cryptocurrency advertising, you can simply just expect scammers to find new more lucrative ways to locate victims. What needs to be done here instead, is tech companies need to invest some time and money into providing their customers with crypto-proficiency and a level of education that they can use to protect themselves. What this would do is allow for a healthier crypto-advertising industry and of course, it would equip people with the skills they need to make wise and calculated decisions. By driving it underground, instead, this is just going to contribute to more people being scammed by advertisements that are harder to detect.
What are Microsoft saying about this?
According to Businesscloud.co.uk, Advertiser Policy Manager for Microsoft, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, has said:
"Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviours, or otherwise scam consumers, to help protect our users from this risk, we have made the decision to disallow advertising for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency related products, and un-regulated binary options."
Each time, regulation seems to be the issue here. We all know that this is something many authorities across the world are currently working on. If you ask, are Microsoft jumping the gun here, we could probably argue that yes, they are.
Overall, this is bad news for many honest and fruitful cryptocurrencies. ICO’s can be really cool opportunities and of course, many new startups will be affected by this news. With Facebook, Twitter, Google and now Microsoft pushing their marketing strategies away from the mainstream, new startups and well versed cryptocurrency firms alike will need to re-address their marketing plans. Once we see tighter international regulations, many of these tech companies will re-address their own decisions, for now though, with cryptocurrency advertising being driven underground, we should be more cautious than ever when it comes to exploring the crypto-sphere, online.