Twitter is the latest online platform to ban crypto ads, following similar announcements by digital advertising giants Facebook (in January) and Google (earlier this month). Twitter will prohibit ads for digital token sales, crypto-wallets, and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to Reuters. With some exceptions, crypto exchanges will also be banned from advertising.
Interest in bitcoin and its crypto cousins boomed in the past year, and along with it the potential for fraud and scams. Companies have raised billions of dollars through ICOs, which blend elements of crowdfunding via cryptoassets and traditional initial public offerings. Even if they’re not outright frauds, many ICOs don’t have customers, revenue, or a working product, making them substantially more risky that the typical stock market offering.
Financial watchdogs around the world have taken note, issuing warnings to investors about the wide variety of risks investors face. Tech and social media companies, whose policing of content has been under fire more generally, are gradually tightening their restrictions. Snap has also banned ads for ICOs, according to Cheddar.
Despite the restrictions, Twitter CEO’s is a bitcoin believer: Jack Dorsey recently told the Sunday Times that bitcoin will eventually be more important than the dollar and will become the internet’s single global currency within 10 years. In some ways, bitcoin and Twitter face similar challenges—they have a lot of promise if they can figure out how to restrain the bad actors.