It would appear U.S. search giant Google shares the opinion that the worst could be over for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and has decided to un-ban bitcoin ads, according to a CNBC report.
The Alphabet-owned Google is joining social network Facebook in scrapping a ban on advertisements for cryptocurrencies from October — allowing regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to buy ads in the U.S. and Japan.
The decision to un-ban bitcoin-related ads on the world’s biggest search engine comes after a wave of bullish predictions for the bitcoin price last week.
The ban was originally adopted as a way for Google to get a handle on the countless high-profile scams bitcoin’s sudden surge in value created.
The roll back suggests Google believes that regulators around the world (especially in the U.S. and Japan) are making real progress against the crypto criminals.
When Google initially banned ads for bitcoin-related services in June it sent the price of bitcoin down by some 10% and bitcoin, as well as most other major cryptocurrencies, are far down from their all-time highs at the beginning of the year.
The news has yet to move the bitcoin price, which is down some 3% over the last 24 hours.
Ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice will remain banned, according to CNBC, with the updated policy applying to advertisers all over the world, though the ads will only run in the U.S. and Japan.
“This is a positive step for well-established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum,” said bitcoin expert and a professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Chris Wilmer.
“Bitcoin is a technological breakthrough, with many applications beyond being a new, better form of money. While platforms such as Google and Facebook need to be mindful of false and malicious cryptocurrency ads, simply banning all ads was not the right thing to do,” Wilmer added.
“The longer bitcoin has existed and continued to grow, despite the predictions of many, the more the world is realizing that this is an important technology that is here to stay.”
Over recent months many of the world’s biggest banks and financial services companies have been gearing up to launch bitcoin products, including the likes of U.S. investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.
With the Google bitcoin ad ban at least partially lifted it could open the door for these established financial companies to advertise their bitcoin products on Google’s platform.
Elsewhere, the New York Stock Exchange owner ICE is planning on launching a bitcoin and cryptocurrency platform called Bakkt in partnership with coffee chain Starbucks, software giant Microsoft, and Boston Consulting Group in November — something it will no doubt be keen to advertise as widely as possible.
This reversal also shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. At the time of the original ban, Google didn’t rule out undoing it, but said it wanted to proceed with “extreme caution.”
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” Google’s Scott Spencer told CNBC at the time.