Facebook, Google, Yandex, and Twitter have all recently imposed advertising bans on the crypto space, and it looks like they may be about to face some opposition in the form of the Eurasian Association of Blockchain.
Anyone who follows the crypto space closely will be aware by now of the steps taken by the internet and social media giants to ban cryptocurrency related advertisements. The prohibition of these ads is comprehensive, covering ICOs, crypto wallets, and crypto exchanges, and although the opinion on these bans is mixed, the crypto community largely agrees on one thing – they are unduly harsh.
The Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB), The Korea Venture Business Association and LCBT (a Chinese Blockchain association) have come together to form the Eurasian Association of Blockchain —a group united in their belief that search engine and social media giants are trying to use their power to monopolize the crypto space.
The group is reported to be preparing a lawsuit against these powers for using their influence to damage investors, the market, and the crypto space as a whole.
Do they have a case?
One of the main reasons given for the action against crypto ads was the prominence of phishing scams and illegitimate ICOs. In a blog post, Google claimed it removed 3.2 Billion bad ads (100 per second) in 2017 that, to be fair, does offer a strong justification for their decision to restrict ICO ads. If the Eurasian Association of Blockchain wants to make a legal case, they might have trouble arguing that a ban, in those circumstances, is unwarranted.
Also, it is difficult to measure just how much ‘damage’ has been done to the crypto space because of these bans. Trends can be observed in the markets following the announcements of each respective ban, but this is not conclusive evidence of wrongdoing or manipulation, and just how much ICOs and other crypto services rely on advertising is debatable anyway.
The timing of bans: a conspiracy or natural?
One argument the group may make is that the short space of time in which these bans were announced shows a clear drive by the heavyweights to intervene in the crypto space. One also must consider that these companies are competitors — if one company is seen to take steps to protect its users then others are surely likely to follow.
The success of a legal battle against such opposition is unlikely, given their standing and some of the elements that can be used to justify their actions, though if shareholders are found to own cryptos, it isn’t impossible that some degree of legal action may be successful.
Are bans on ICOs a big deal?
They’re far from ideal, and it does seem harsh that genuine ICOs and smaller projects must struggle on without the ability to advertise their products/services. A policy that only punished transgressors would be preferable, but that is perhaps unrealistic without regulation. Whatever way you look at it, regardless of the legalities, the ban seems harsh.
But there is no reason to believe that these bans will remain in place forever. The right project could see crypto explode into the mainstream and Google and co. won’t want to be caught with their pants down if it does. For now, the community will need to hope that the best projects attract attention and thrive with or without advertisements, and this is something that we can make happen by continuing to support and discuss the projects that excite us.
Michael is an English and Creative writing graduate of Liverpool John Moore’s University, a former editor of several magazines, and a crypto-currency enthusiast. He is mostly interested in crypto-legislation and the potential of decentralized technology to change the world.