Cryptocurrency Startup Founders who want to advertise their new companies can no longer rely on the internet’s largest platforms to help spread their message. In January, Facebook announced it was banning ads that are “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive practices” including initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies. Other platforms quickly followed suit; now, nearly all of the web’s most trafficked sites forbid cryptocurrency advertising. But entrepreneurs and researchers committed to the future of blockchain tech largely say they’re getting along just fine—and that the ban might even be a good thing.
In March, Google also announced a cryptocurrency crackdown that will go into effect in June across all of its platforms. Snap, Twitter, and MailChimp soon followed. And Reddit has been banning cryptocurrency ads since 2016. At this point, if you’re interested in advertising a cryptocurrency startup, your best bet might be word of mouth.
Advertising platforms like Google and Facebook have good reason to want to ban ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, opportunities for investors to buy the tokens that power a blockchain application at a lower, early-bird price. ICOs and other cryptocurrency investment schemes are largely unregulated, and have repeatedly attracted scammers interested in ripping off unsuspecting investors. While many blockchain startups are legitimately trying to build a business using the new technology, some simply want to make a buck off the hype that comes with it.
But the blanket ban across the internet’s largest advertising platforms largely doesn’t differentiate between promising startups and outright frauds. Even well-intentioned ICOs can’t use Facebook or Google—which together control over half of the online US advertising market—to get the word.
That can feel particularly punitive when you consider that Google itself is reportedly exploring blockchain technology, and plenty of reputable companies and organizations like the United Nations and IBM are investing in it too. Facebook has also reportedly permitted other scam-ridden industries, like the diet pill business, to utilize its advertising platform unhindered.