A blanket ban on cryptocurrency advertising by Facebook and Google is being met with resistance by several blockchain associations, which have banded together to sue the internet giants over possible collusion.
Blockchain Industry Presents Legal Claim
The blockchain coalition, which is being led by multinational crypto organizations in Russia, South Korea and China, intends to file court orders as early as May, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. In addition to Facebook and Google, the coalition is also pursuing legal action against Yandex, a publicly-traded company based in Russia.
Yuri Pripachkin, who heads the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB), was reportedly the one who linked the ban to collusion. In his view, the sweeping ban on cryptocurrency and blockchain advertising has caused a “special indignation” within the crypto community.
Sweeping ad bans have contributed to the windfall in digital currencies over the past few weeks. On Tuesday, Twitter became the latest social media company to block keyword targeting and banner ads for crypto-based companies. The news, though not entirely unexpected, took some speculators by surprise given Jack Dorsey’s glowing review of bitcoin. Twitter’s top executive recently told U.K. media that bitcoin would become the single global currency in ten years’ time.
Cartel to Bring Down Crypto?
One of Pripachkin’s most intriguing remarks was about how the four companies in question – Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yandex – hold a monopoly position on global advertising, which puts them in the same bracket as a cartel. A blanket ban on cryptocurrency ads is therefore part of a concerted effort to “manipulate the market” and weaken investor morale.
He may be on to something.
Google and Facebook combined account for nearly three-quarters of digital advertising in the U.S. alone. Google’s position is so dominant that marketing companies, bloggers and content creators routinely tinker with the very substance of their posts to ensure favorable ranking on Google search engines. This extends far beyond keyword optimization to include how content is created and distributed (for example, about two years ago, “10x content” was all the rage.).
While it may be a stretch to conclude that social media is attacking crypto, the digital asset class is not part of the establishment. This puts it outside the confines of mainstream society, which cuts across banking, government and media (all have attacked cryptocurrencies repeatedly over the past five years). Major banks have only now begun talking about the benefits of cryptocurrency, but that’s only because of blockchain technology and growing institutional interest in bitcoin.
Bans on cryptocurrency ads won’t deter those who are curious about the industry from researching it on their own. Keywords like “bitcoin” have already attained Google’s maximum trend score of 100. Organic searches, Telegram and crypto resources like CoinMarketCap will continue to generate the overwhelming majority of hits for exchanges, digital wallets and ICOs.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
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