Another Blow to ICOs as Google Bans Crypto Ads 2 158

Following an electric 2017, this year has hit like a slap in the face for many an ICO. The latest blow to the cryptocurrency community comes as Google bans crypto ads. The giant search engine decided to come down hard on any content related to ICOs, trading exchanges, and wallets. The ban is effective from June of this year.

In what feels unnervingly like censorship (something Google knows about all too well), we’ll no longer see crypto ads appearing on our screens. More than 40 percent of millennials already use adblockers. However, the rest of us may miss seeing news and opportunities from this mysterious world.

And it will certainly take the wind out of ICO sails.

Facebook Also Banned Crypto Ads

Google isn’t the first major tech company to ban crypto ads. In fact, Facebook led the way earlier this year, citing responsibility to its users.

But the Google announcement may come as a shock to many, as they reveal a major update to their financial services-related advertising policy.

Scott Spencer, Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads, quoted in CNBC, said, “We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”

Rather like China’s sweeping ban on cryptocurrency of all stripes, Google’s ban of crypto ads is also comprehensive. Even legitimate cryptocurrency offerings will no longer be allowed to use their advertising services. That includes the search engine’s own websites, as well as third party sites.

The Crypto World is Uncertain

While cryptocurrency has made a lot of people wealthy, it’s still a largely volatile place. Regulation for the most part is absent, and scam artists have already claimed as much as 10 percent of all ICO funding.

Google, like Facebook, claims to have a responsibility to its users. In 2017 alone, it removed more than 3 billion adverts that were in violation of their policies. More than 80 percent of Google’s parent company revenue is made from advertising. Assuring advertisers that the ecosystem is safe is vital to the company.

The Silence is Deafening

Google’s ban on crypto ads will surely shine a light on the other elephant in the room. If cryptocurrencies and blockchain are so revolutionary, why haven’t they gotten on board with the technology yet?

While there is no definitive answer to this question of yet, some speculate that it is because the blockchain fails to live up to the marketing hype surrounding it.

However, Paul Brody, global blockchain innovation leader at EY, stated,Cryptocurrencies – and the blockchains they run on – are a technical revolution that should enable a transformational set of new business technologies… We think everything from the digital media business to supply chains will be transformed with this technology in the coming years.”

Whether blockchain is a revolution or not and Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are missing out remains to be seen. But it’s going to be an interesting show.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Christina is a technology and business communicator who has worked with high profile ICOs and blockchain influencers to break industry news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Kenya Looks to Blockchain for Affordable Housing Project 1 192

The “Silicon Savannah” is moving deeper in direction of tech. The Kenyan government has announced a plan to manage the property allocation and funding of 500,000 affordable housing units with blockchain technology.

The units, which the government aims to build by 2022, will be set aside for households with an annual income below 100,000 Kenyan Shillings, about $990 USD. The World Bank estimates Kenya’s gross national income per capita at $1,290, according to Business Daily.

Blockchain will help ensure that the affordable housing is in fact going to those who fall below the average income bracket. Land title fraud has caused problems for Kenyans, as land grabbers target homes and even schools for illegal sales and development. Blockchain’s ability to store verifiable proof of title could help safeguard against fraudsters.

“Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government funded housing projects,” said Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga, speaking with the World Bank on Monday.

Hinga said the plan will be financed by the National Housing Fund, which will raise over $59.5 million per month to get the project underway. But Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia said it will take $31.7 billion to build a million homes, each of which will cost between $3,000 and $30,000. Macharia called for support from private sector financing.

Under the financing plan, working Kenyans will contribute 1.5 percent of their salary, which will be matched by their employers. “On affordable housing one should not spend more than 30% of their disposable income for housing,” Hinga tweeted yesterday. “Anything above 30% is not affordable.”

A Trustless Relationship Between People and Government

The initiative represents a considerable push to solve housing and title problems for the nation’s lower income families. But how will the government decide to whom the housing units will go? With so much talk about financing underway, people are already calling on the government to outline a plan for how they’ll distribute the affordable housing units.

The government will need to deliver the housing projects in a time when, Hinga acknowledges, the public is skeptical. Earlier this year $78 million went missing in a corruption scandal involving the National Youth Services. Where there is little trust between the people and their government, Kenya hopes to establish transparency through the blockchain’s distributed ledger system.

Kenya’s Move Toward Tech

In March, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology appointed a blockchain taskforce to explore the ways the nation could use blockchain technology in the public and private sectors. They called it the Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence taskforce, and by September its chairman, Bitange Ndemo, was calling on the government to tokenize the economy.

Ndemo also proposed government implementation of blockchain to certify the authenticity of retail goods, so consumers can be sure of where their food is coming from, for example.

Governor of Kenya’s central bank Patrick Njoroge has also voiced support for the use of blockchain technology to strengthen service delivery, although he’s opposed the use of tokens and digital currencies.

But the affordable housing initiative could be the Kenyan government’s first real world implementation of the blockchain.

There’s an Inflatable ‘Bitcoin Rat’ Staring Down the Fed 13 230

Someone has put a giant inflatable rat outside the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

It’s covered in Bitcoin code, printed in rainbow colors, and is apparently a piece of installation art aimed at subverting the federal institution that controls the US dollar. Or is it pale, puffed-up pariah a commentary on Bitcoin bros themselves? Or does it have something to do with Warren Buffett, who earlier this year called Bitcoin “rat poison squared”? According to CoinDesk, who first reported on the inflatable rat, the meaning is intentionally ambiguous.

The artist behind the puzzling prank is Nelson Saiers. He describes his own work as “mystifying” and “singularly original”, notwithstanding the long history of rats being inflated as protests or used as economic and political icons in art and entertainment around the world.

“It’s art, so I hope they’re entertained by it,” he said, apparently implying that art is entertainment. “It’s informative, I hope people will learn [and] I’m hoping it’ll at least help people understand bitcoin better and be kind of faithful to what Satoshi would have wanted,” he added, citing the mysterious pseudonym of Bitcoin’s founder with a touch of reverence.

A $50 Million Artist

Saiers, a phD in theoretical mathematics, was a hedge fund manager who did that thing where you give up all the money to chase your dream of being an artist.

His financial experience includes a stint as managing director at Deutsche Bank’s prop trading desk, before becoming CIO of Saiers Capital, the hedge fund that bears his name. His creative career gives credence to the theory that working as an artist is more and more a privilege of the very wealthy.

CNBC estimated Saiers’s wealth to be around $50 million at the time of he departed from the financial industry to pick up his paintbrushes.

The Rat Joins a Tradition of Sculpture-as-Commentary in FiDi

The Bitcoin rat, which stands on Maiden Lane, isn’t the first pop up sculpture to grace Manhattan’s financial district. Last year, Kristen Visbal’s 50 inch bronze ‘Fearless Girl’ statue made waves by staring down the famous ‘Charging Bull’, to the outrage of ‘Charging Bull’ sculptor Arturo Di Modica. The 3.5 ton ‘Charging Bull’ itself was left on Wall Street in the middle of the night when Di Modica originally created it, obstructing traffic and drawing the curiosity of passers by.

When Saiers placed the Bitcoin rat, he initially set it up on private property and was promptly ushered off by security guards, who he says were good natured about the situation. He expects the sculpture to be more temporary than the aforementioned Wall Street bronzes, and will probably only be around for a few days.

A Critique of the 2008 Bailouts

The placement of the rat on Maiden Lane seems to be no accident, but rather a reference to the Maiden Lane Transactions, more commonly known as that time when the Fed bailed out the big banks after they all caused the 2008 market crash. The Bitcoin crowd’s antipathy towards the Fed and the big banks is palpable in Sairs’s rat sculpture, and while a more specific meaning eludes, perhaps the success of the piece depends upon its ability to start conversations about the state of finance.

We’ll leave it to the viewers to decide who’s the rat—the Federal Reserve, or Bitcoin itself—and what that means for the future of currencies.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks