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Facebook has reversed its stance on cryptocurrency ads after less than six months. The ban was announced in late January, but Facebook has now declared that it is seeking to ‘“refine” its policy on cryptocurrency ads.
The precedent was designed to be “intentionally broad” amid fears that ads were being exploited for fraudulent reasons. Iqbal Gandham, the UK managing director of investment platform eToro, commented "customer safety and education about the market should remain a priority, but a blanket ban is a poor approach to new ideas.”
In a similar vein, Facebook recently introduced a new policy to ban unreliable businesses from advertising on their platform. These measures are undoubtedly an effort to improve the platform’s brand identity following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Major bank CEOs are now backing blockchain, and the financial sector is beginning to capitalise on the technology after maintaining a level of skepticism. Ganham added "Technology giants like Facebook are aware of the potential of blockchain technology to fundamentally change the financial system."
Under the new protocol, companies must submit an application form to be approved for advertising to allow Facebook to assess eligibilities based on a company’s general background. Adverts that promote binary options and initial coin offerings remain prohibited.
Product Management Director Rob Leathern commented on behalf of the social media giant, and said “we want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception." The realm of cryptocurrency remains somewhat untrustworthy to those at Facebook, despite their own questionable reputation.
Rumours that Facebook have attempted to acquire Coinbase are circulating, and experts have suggested that the move could boost the platform’s market value. Tech entrepreneur Oliver Isaacs articulated this speculation to the Independent, he said “it wouldn't surprise me if Facebook made an attempt to acquire Coinbase.”
According to Sergio Ermotti, CEO of investment bank UBS, blockchain has the potential to “transform the cost base” of the finance industry “in the next 5 to 10 years.” While many remain reluctant to fully engage with the technology, Facebook’s revocation of their ban indicates an important shift in attitudes towards cryptocurrencies.