Social media giant Facebook has had a change of heart with regards to advertising material related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies on its platform. Ads about blockchain tech, industry news, as well as events and educational materials for cryptocurrencies can now be displayed on Facebook without prior approval.
This sees them reversing their stance on cryptocurrency advertising that was firstly banned outright in January 2018, then later, in June of last year, changed to allow for crypto advertising with prior approval. Now, as the major tech company gets closer to its own cryptocurrency launch, there again has been a policy change.
The latest update to their cryptocurrency policy specifies that this change will still not apply to advertisements that are promoting a particular cryptocurrency and that advertisements for initial coin offerings (ICOs) are still entirely forbidden.
Facebook has had a cryptic relationship with cryptocurrencies and blockchain since late 2017 with its head, Mark Zuckerberg, first teasing at his company’s interest with the technology when he said he had made it his mission to learn more about the space.
Now, rumor abounds that Facebook will soon be launching their form of cryptocurrency and are in the stage of seeking investment of as much as $1 billion from heavyweights such as Visa and Mastercard, according to New York Times tech reporter Nathaniel Popper.
Learning the ropes
When Facebook decided to ban all crypto advertising in January of last year, it set off a chain reaction with Google and Twitter also following suit. However, in that initial statement, they caveated that this was a blanket ban until they could figure out the best way forward.
Now, over a year later, and a second policy change, it seems that the cautious Social Media company is slowly learning the ropes of this nascent ecosystem. No doubt that Facebook’s exploration of cryptocurrency, with an eye on launching a stablecoin, has helped, as well as their ever-expanding blockchain development team.
Facebook remains committed to preventing misleading advertising on platforms, especially in the area of financial products and services. As a result, the company’s new ad policy does not open the doors to all:
“People who want to promote cryptocurrency and closely related products like cryptocurrency exchanges and mining software and hardware will still have to go through a review process,” the company stated.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is actively looking for deals to back its cryptocurrency payments ecosystem, called Project Libra. The company is reportedly in discussions with “dozens of financial firms and online merchants” to support this new project of a blockchain-based payments network.
While Visa and Mastercard are rumored to be in the crosshairs, it is also being reported that Facebook is courting e-commerce companies which could indicate the intended direction for this digital payments ecosystem. It could be that Facebook wants these e-commerce sites to not only invest in their digital coin but also perhaps join in as a partner.
The fact that Facebook first began with the idea of a cryptocurrency-like coin for Whatsapp users to transfer value over the messaging app and has expanded rapidly to a potential billion dollar investment shows how far they have come along in their regard of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Indicative of their hopes of building a blockchain-based payment ecosystem is their retraction of the hardline approach on cryptocurrency advertising. In over a year the company has gotten comfortable enough to allow others – which are legitimate – in the ecosystem to once again use Facebook for advertising, but they have also started their blockchain journey.
Year of Enterprise
Facebook is but one of these massive corporations that are starting to investigate and explore the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency in 2019. Forbes’ own Blockchain 50 list shows just how much of an enterprise push there has been.
No longer are major companies shunning or being scared off with words like ‘Bitcoin’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’, they are far more curious and ready to explore. With Facebook slowly reopening its doors on the ecosystem to advertise on the platform, there is a lot of evidence that the expansion of blockchain enterprise use will continue to pick up steam in the coming months, and years.