Facebook Reverses Cryptocurrency Ad Policy
Nearly six months after announcing it would ban all cryptocurrency related adverts on its platforms, Facebook has apparently had a change of heart. As TechCrunch reports, Facebook has decided to re-allow crypto ads effective immediately. However, while the generic ban has been lifted, the social network says that advertisements for initial coin offerings and binary options will still be disallowed.
While enacting the ad ban back in January, Facebook asserted that the decision was the result of several companies in the space “not currently operating in good faith.” That assessment was echoed by rival Google a couple months later when that company announced a similar policy update. So what’s changed in the last half a year that could have led to Facebook’s reversal?
One leading theory as to why Facebook may be opening the doors to cryptocurrency ads again is that it’s mulling over an entry into the space. In fact rumors have swirled suggesting that company may be looking to purchase Coinbase — a popular cryptocurrency exchange and app. Offering his assessment of the rumors, Oliver Isaacs told The Independent, “It wouldn’t surprise me if Facebook made an attempt to acquire Coinbase. Whether [Coinbase CEO] Brian Armstrong and the team would agree is another question.” At the same time, the aforementioned Armstrong has been adamant about growing cryptocurrency adoption, which is something that a Facebook take-over of the company would almost surely assist with.
Even if a Coinbase acquisition might not be in the cards, there are other reasons to believe Facebook would be looking to get in on the cryptocurrency craze. In January — around the same time his company was banning crypto ads — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a blog post about how “many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.” Following that statement of premise, Zuckerberg wrote, “There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
Whether or not Facebook’s latest move signals a larger embrace of cryptocurrencies remains to be seen. Still the decision could help lead a new trend that begins to rehabilitate crypto’s image after a string of bad press. Between Square’s big news last week and Facebook’s about-face, it seems things may be looking up for cryptocurrencies — even if prices continue to slump.