Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, blocked more than five million cryptocurrency-related ads last year, according to its ‘ad quality year in review 2018’ report, published on March 25. The report stated that though cryptocurrency as an asset class saw a bull run in 2018, Bing Ads decided to ban cryptocurrency content and blocked more than five million such ads because “there wasn’t much regulatory oversight, and the pseudo-anonymity built into currencies like Bitcoin made cryptocurrency a prime target for fraudsters and scam artists”.

Last May, Bing joined other internet giants by announcing it would ban cryptocurrency-related advertisements on its network by July 2018. The company then stated in an official post: “Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviours, or otherwise scam consumers.”

Facebook, Google and Twitter have partial bans

Facebook banned all crypto ads on the platform in January 2018, to avoid promoting “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” However, it partially reversed the ban in June 2018 and now allows some pre-approved advertisers to promote crypto businesses and services.

In March 2018, Google said it would ban ads about cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings (ICOs) – crowdfunding used to raise cash by creating new coins – and other “unregulated or speculative financial products” from June. The company said the move was part of an update to its policy. But in September CNBC reported that Google would end its sweeping ban in October and allow regulated crypto exchanges to buy ads in the United States and Japan.

Twitter also banned crypto ads in March 2018. The ban applied to ICOs token sales, cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency wallet services. However, it made exceptions for public companies listed on certain major stock markets, Reuters reported. A statement from the company read: “We know that this type of content is often associated with deception and fraud, both organic and paid, and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner.”

Despite the ban, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey – who also heads the fintech startup Square – has long been a fan of cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin in particular. Square’s Cash app already accepts payments in Bitcoin and on March 21 Dorsey announced the formation of ‘Square Crypto’, a team that will work full-time on improving Bitcoin and crypto ecosystems.