Twitter bans cryptocurrency advertising, joining other tech giants in crackdown

Key Points
  • Twitter will follow Google and Facebook's lead in banning cryptocurrency ads.
  • "Under this new policy, the advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally," says a Twitter spokesperson.
  • Global regulators including the SEC are also addressing potential risks in ICOs.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Twitter announced Monday it will ban advertising for cryptocurrencies, joining advertising giants Google and Facebook in a wider crackdown that aims to protect investors from fraud.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety of the Twitter community. As such, we have added a new policy for Twitter Ads relating to cryptocurrency," a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC Monday. "Under this new policy, the advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally."

Possibilities of a ban were reported last week. Bitcoin prices fell near the $7,000 level following that news, then recovered $700 in less than three hours the same day.

Twitter's announcement Monday echoes other tech giants' policy changes.

Google, the world's largest online ad provider, announced an update to its financial services policy earlier in March that will restrict advertising for "cryptocurrencies and related content" starting in June.

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Bitcoin fell 12 percent in late January after Facebook, the world's second-largest online ad provider, said it would ban all ads that promote cryptocurrencies to prevent the spread of what it called "financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices."

Global regulators have taken note of potential risks in initial coin offerings, or digital coins released through fundraisers known as token sales.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped up efforts to police the fundraising process through scores of subpoenas reported earlier in March. In 2017, the Chinese government banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) outright.

Bitcoin was trading near $8,084 as of 12:00 p.m. ET Monday, down roughly 4 percent from Sunday's close.

The Twitter news was a "non-event" for cryptocurrency markets, according to Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM.

"There is not a discernible catalyst on either side of the market so we are just drifting lower," Kelly said. "The biggest potential short-term catalyst is increased trading in South Korea as that government re-embraces crypto."

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