Microsoft is the latest online giant to impose a blanket ban on advertising for cryptocurrencies – including ICOs and electronic wallets.
The web giant’s Bing search engine will no longer support any advertising by cryptocurrency organisations.
The announcement came from Microsoft advertising policy manager Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo.
In a blog message on the company web site she said: “We are always evaluating our policies to ensure a safe and engaging experience for our Bing users and the digital advertising ecosystem.
“Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviours, or otherwise scam consumers.
Blockchain research goes on
“To help protect our users from this risk, we have made the decision to disallow advertising for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency related products, and un-regulated binary options.
“Bing Ads will implement this change to our financial product and services policy globally in June, with enforcement rolling out in late June to early July.”
The Bing search engine already bans some virtual currency advertising, according to the company web site, which states: “Virtual currencies designed to facilitate illegal purposes, eg, to avoid applicable taxes, money laundering, promotion of fake/forged virtual currencies.”
The company joins Facebook, Google and Twitter, which have already announced their own bans that are due to start in June.
Microsoft stresses that the company is not anti-cryptocurrency and says a research team will continue to work on blockchain applications.
Plan to build a digital ID hub
In February, the company revealed a team is working on a digital identity hub for online users.
“Rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it,” said Ankur Patel, principal program manager at Microsoft’s Identity division
“The self-owned identity would be easy to use and provide users with complete control over how and when it is used.”
Cynics might say this strategy is an attempt by Microsoft to collect personal data for exploitation in the same way as Google and Facebook power their profits.