Remember that advertisement you came across on Facebook about some random ICO that sold over $150 million worth of tokens in 3 hours? Also, remember that one time when you saw an ad about this ZERO-fee cryptocurrency trading platform that offers referral bonus programs?
Well, time to say goodbye to them.
Earlier today, Facebook announced that it will be blocking any advertising promoting cryptocurrency products and services.
According to the social media behemoth, it was open to emerging technologies but many companies were not acting in "good faith" when extolling the virtues buying into virtual currencies.
Recently, thanks to Bitcoin's meteoric growth in 2017, more and more startups have been seeking to piggyback off its success by launching ICOs to fundraise for their companies.
As a result, the amount of money raised through ICOs showed an exponential increase in 2017, going from less than $100 million to over $1 billion dollars.
An ICO - initial coin offering - encourages people to buy into new cryptocurrencies before they launch in hopes they are one day worth a lot more money as the coin becomes more popular.
Some companies have used ICOs as a way to raise great sums of money, but without the regulatory burden associated with raising cash though more traditional investment channels.
Because of this, many ICOs have simply disappeared, with little recourse for the "investor" - a loose term, since those who pay into ICOs do not typically get a genuine stake in the new company.
Raising money using an ICO has been banned in South Korea and China, and regulators in other countries are warning against getting involved.
According to Bloomberg, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week said it had seized the assets of a firm that said it had raised $600m in its ICO.
Rob Leathern, product management director for Facebook Business, acknowledged that despite there being a plethora of scam ICOs out there, there are still quite a few legitimate ones.
“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
Under the new policy, advertising using phrases such as "New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount NOW!" or "Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!" would not be permitted, Facebook said.
Also, Facebook urged users to report any ads the company's security measures missed, as it admits that it would not be able to catch every cryptocurrency ads that are out there.