Cryptocurrencies. For some reason we just can’t stop talking about them. Well, it’s probably for a good reason. Over the last year cryptocurrencies have made headlines as investors all around the world are making insane returns trading these digital tokens. While you can definitely make money trading cryptocurrency you can also lose it just as quickly. This is where scammers saw an opportunity.
Since cryptocurrencies are more or less unregulated there are a lot more opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting traders. One platform that’s been heavily targeted by these scammers is Facebook. Facebook makes it really easy to run ads on their platform and even easier to get it in front of a large audience. That ease leveraged with the popularity of cryptocurrencies means you’ll get a ton of engagement. It’s gotten so bad that Facebook has recently decided to ban all cryptocurrency ads on their platform. Here’s what you need to know about the ban:
What Did These Ads Look Like?
The ads that triggered Facebook’s recent ban came in many different shapes and sizes. One of the most common types of cryptocurrency scams is an ICO. An ICO stands for initial coin offering and is a way for a cryptocurrency company to raise funds by selling off a certain amount of their tokens. These ICOs are popular because they give an opportunity to “get in early”. In the crypto world this means you can make a ton of money.
The problem is many of these ICOs are fake. Individuals will put up a website and promote a digital currency with no intention of actually developing the product. Once the funds are raised, they’ll take the money and disappear into the abyss of the internet. Since millions can be raised through an ICO it’s worth it for these fraudsters to spend tens of thousands on Facebook ads promoting their products.
Other types of ads that Facebook will be banning are things like “Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!” and “Click here to learn about our no-risk cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world.”
Long story short, any ad that has any whiff of cryptocurrency in it will no longer be allowed on the platform.
Facebook Ultimately Wants to Keep Users Safe
The misconception here is that Facebook is against all cryptocurrencies. That is simply not true. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post, “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.”
Facebook is merely trying to better understand these technologies so they can ultimately create a safer experience for their users. In order to do so the ban needs to be intentionally broad so they can gain total control. Rob Leathern, Facebook’s product management director said “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve”.
What Does This Mean For Cryptocurrencies?
Like any negative cryptocurrency news we’ll likely see a bit of a drop off in prices for a while. That said I think this is ultimately good in the long-term. We want to see less volatility and we definitely want to see some of these companies actually bringing their products to market. That means we can’t have ICOs for companies that never intend to launch.
The more we can promote stories about people using cryptocurrencies to better their lives the more popular they will become. If that means Facebook has to fully abolish all cryptocurrency talk for the time being, then so be it.