Guide

Can You Use Online Advertising for Cryptocurrency Sites?

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Image credit: EivindPedersen/pixabay

If you want to promote cryptocurrency through online adverts, or you’re looking to host adverts on your cryptocurrency website, what are the restrictions you need to know about? Here’s what you can and can’t do.

If you run a cryptocurrency website (like us!), there are few restrictions on what Google AdSense adverts you can have on your website. Providing you follow the simple Destination Requirements guide, you won’t have any trouble. Generally, if you provide a useful service, don’t spam users with obtrusive or pop-up adverts, and you verify your account details with Google, there’s not much else to do. This article focusses on placing adverts for your cryptocurrency goods to run on other websites.

What Restrictions Are There on Cryptocurrency Adverts on AdSense?

According to Google’s Financial Products and Services Advertising Policy, cryptocurrency adverts are heavily restricted. Although this doesn’t mean you can’t place them at all.

Due to the complex and evolving nature of regulations related to cryptocurrencies and related products and services, we only allow them to be advertised in limited circumstances.

Providing you comply with the rules, you’ll be able to run crypto adverts for many services — with a few exceptions.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are not allowed at all, as is an advert that promotes the sale of a specific cryptocurrency. This shouldn’t be a surprise, with the prevalence of fraud and ICO scams. This also means adverts for crypto wallets are not allowed either, as they facilitate the trading of coins, and they also have the potential to steal your funds in extreme cases.

The following examples are not allowed:

  • Buy Bitcoin from XYZ website
  • Buy Altcoins from ABC website
  • Download this amazing Ethereum wallet

Adverts for cryptocurrency trading or investment advice, crypto aggregators, or other “investment” websites are also not allowed.

Should you fall foul of Google’s advertising restrictions, and you feel their action is unjustified, then you can apply to have the advert reinstated. Follow the steps on Google’s Submit a campaign for policy review page.

What Can You Do with Cryptocurrency and AdSense?

Google AdSense allows crypto adverts for mining, providing you ask for the user’s permission before starting any mining. Adverts for websites that use cryptojacking are not allowed, but due to the nature of the problem, they may briefly appear before getting moderated and removed. You can run adverts for cloud or pool mining services, a new ASIC Miner, or a tutorial website about how to mine.

Adverts for cryptocurrency exchanges are sometimes allowed (and are not restricted in the same way adverts for trading are), but there are further regulations. Exchanges must get licensed by their local authority, must meet all local laws and industry standards, and use an account verified by Google. Only once meeting these requirements, can you apply for a Google AdSense certification. If you trade in more than one country, you’ll need a certification for each country you wish to advertise in, providing its a country approved by Google.

Alternatives to Google AdSense for Cryptocurrency Adverts

You may think that Google is being mean with their advertising policy, but it’s designed to protect consumers. Still, if you’re looking to promote a product or service which Google doesn’t allow, what are your options? Here are some alternative advertising providers, and their stance on cryptocurrency adverts.

Amazon Associates: Amazon’s associate program is unclear regarding their stance on cryptocurrency promotion. As Amazon’s marketing system targets physical products, we don’t see a reason why you can’t promote a physical product such as a hardware wallet. Amazon works around advertising of physical products, so an advert about a new ICO wouldn’t be a good fit, to begin with.

Facebook Business: Facebook famously banned cryptocurrency adverts, before changing their mind and “unbanning” them. Their now policy is intentionally vague, but it forbids advertising around crypto services with a bad reputation (such as ICOs). You can’t advertise a Bitcoin get-rich-quick scheme, but you could promote a new hardware wallet.

Twitter Ads: ICOs are not allowed promotion on Twitter and token sales of any kind are not allowed. Wallets and exchanges are fine, but these must come from companies listed on their respective stock exchange(s).

Reddit Ads: Reddit banned crypto advertising early on in 2016, but never made a big press release announcement. Their policy states that “…improbable, or unsubstantiated financial products and services” are not allowed. Quite what this covers is still a mystery, but it’s fair to assume that most crypto ads are not allowed on Reddit. Before Google announced its policy, Reddit also blocked Google AdSense adverts promoting cryptocurrency, which is a very heavy stance.

In summary, it can appear like the whole internet is out to get cryptocurrency adverts, but that’s not always the case. If you’re running a legitimate business, complying with local laws, or manufacturing a product, most websites will accept adverts for your product. If you’re trying to push a new coin, ICO, or service that has a bad reputation, then you’ll have a much tougher time running adverts.

If you have experience running crypto ads, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, let us know what you think of the “ban everything” approach to crypto ads. Is this too heavy handed, or do you believe it protects the consumer and makes the internet a better place for all?

Joe Coburn
With a background in software development, Joe quickly realized the potential in blockchain technology when it first hit the scene. He started a personal blog (RIP) about cryptocurrency developments way back in 2010, and since then he’s been fascinated by the concept of decentralized currency.

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