In a significant policy update, Google has opened its doors to promoting certain cryptocurrency products across major search engines starting from 29 January.
This move is expected to have a substantial impact on the crypto market, particularly for Bitcoin ETFs, which are seen as likely candidates to meet Google’s advertising criteria.
Given Google’s immense search capabilities, processing over 100,000 searches per second, the inclusion of Bitcoin ETFs in its advertising policy could lead to significant exposure and investment inflows.
The ad policy update also highlights Google’s shift in stance towards crypto. Back in 2018, it had placed a full ban on all crypto-related ads over consumer protection.
However, in the years that followed, it gradually eased the restrictions. The tech company first permitted certain crypto firms to advertise in August 2021, as long as they met specific requirements. This included being registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or a federal or state-chartered bank entity.
Qualification of Bitcoin ETFs under new policy
The updated policy will encompass “financial products that allow investors to trade shares in trusts holding large pools of digital currency”.
This definition seemingly includes the 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs that were recently approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
These ETFs, now available to the general public in the United States, offer investors a stake in the fund’s Bitcoin holdings. It also effectively complies with the Securities Act of 1933, making them a potentially safe option for Google’s advertising platform.
It is important to highlight that Google’s policy does not explicitly mention spot Bitcoin ETFs among its permissible products. Instead, it refers to “cryptocurrency coin trusts.”
However, the potential impact of Google’s advertising on Bitcoin-related products is significant and should not be underestimated. This is particularly relevant given that SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, is actively considering Bitcoin Futures ETFs, which received approval in October 2021.
A boost for the ETFs
The policy change, first reported in December 2023, marks a new era for cryptocurrency advertising on Google. The official announcement sated:
“Beginning January 29th, 2024, advertisers offering Cryptocurrency Coin Trust targeting the United States may advertise those products and services when they meet the following requirements and are certified by Google.
As a reminder, we expect all advertisers to comply with the local laws for any area that their ads target. This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these products.”
Analysts are optimistic about the influx of investments into Bitcoin ETFs, if they are included in the new policy change. This is driven by Google’s vast search processing power, evidenced by its daily handling of 8.55 billion searches.
In the midst of this policy shift, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which is one of the largest Bitcoin trusts, has undergone a notable transformation.
Recently, it transitioned into a spot Bitcoin ETF following SEC approval on 10 January. This change marks a departure from its previous structure, where GBTC shares were exclusively available to accredited investors.
In the US, accredited investors are defined as individuals with a net worth exceeding $1 million or an annual income over $200,000 for the past two years. This requirement aimed to protect less experienced investors from high-risk investments.
In contrast, spot Bitcoin ETFs, now accessible to the general public in the US, are regulated under the Securities Act of 1933. This regulatory framework provides an additional layer of security, potentially making these ETFs a more appealing option for Google’s advertising platform.
The anticipation for Google’s policy update has been building since August 2021. Prominent cryptocurrency trader Michael van de Poppe had expressed optimism about the potential impact of Google ads on Bitcoin-related products.
This sentiment gained further momentum following the SEC’s approval of Bitcoin Futures ETFs in October 2021, signalling a growing acceptance of cryptocurrency-related investment products in the mainstream financial sector.
Therefore, if the new policies include Bitcoin ETFs, the products would enjoy a potential influx of investments, significantly boosting their visibility and investment appeal.