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Following Facebook, Google Will Allow Some Cryptocurrency Ads Again—But With Limits

Google is following Facebook in easing its ban on cryptocurrency-related advertising.

Both companies (again, Facebook first) banned all ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings at the start of the year, when the market for Bitcoin and other virtual coins was especially volatile. Other companies such as Twitter and Snap also instituted bans, although Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) are the biggest players in online advertising.

A few months ago, Facebook changed tack by again allowing preapproved ads for cryptocurrencies and “related content,” although it maintained its ban on ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other scam-ridden areas of the cryptocurrency scene.

Now Google is preparing to change its financial services ad policy to allow advertisements from regulated cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. and Japan.

“Advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve. Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October,” Google said in a brief notice. “This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products.”

As CNBC noted when reporting the post, Google said at the time of instituting its ban that it was cautious about the cryptocurrency area due to its potential for consumer harm.

The market has significantly changed since then, though. After the crash at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, which brought Bitcoin’s value down from almost $20,000 to well below $10,000—the current price is just under $6,500—the mania for buying into cryptocurrencies died down.

Nonetheless, regulators remain wary. In the U.K., for example, a government committee recently called for new regulation to tame the “Wild West” market. One of the committee’s main complaints was that consumers are being inadequately protected, with companies offering ICOs still being able to claim in ads that the market can only go up.