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DEBATE: Is Google right to ban cryptocurrency adverts from its searches?

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Is Google right to ban adverts for cryptocurrency from its searches?

Dr Savvas P Savouri, chief economist and partner at Toscafund Asset Management, says YES.

Those like me convinced that cryptocurrencies are the latest in pyramid schemes should welcome first Facebook and now Google’s decision to place a firewall in front of sites advertising and promoting such pseudo-currencies. Indeed, the frustration is that this decision hasn’t come sooner and is not being implemented with immediate effect.

The simple truth is that what we have seen with the frenzied crypto-mania – which fortunately seems to have peaked – is nothing like wealth creation, but merely wealth rotation. It is much like what is involved in a poker game, where naive players are exploited by those who are far shrewder.

Within the crypto “game”, new buyers suffer from a form of anosognosia – a perception that they know more than they actually do – which early-buyers-turned-sellers capitalise upon.

Some will claim that it is not tech sites’ role to censor the free flow of information in the world of finance. But until this censorship comes into force, maybe each site promoting them should carry a caveat emptor warning, much like those on cigarette packets.

Read more: Google follows Facebook clamping down on cryptocurrency ads

Eleesa Dadiani, a leading crypto-currency economist and broker and founder of Dadiani Fine Art, says NO.

The Google ban on cryptocurrency is nothing short of sheer hypocrisy. On the one hand, Google claims – by banning cryptocurrency adverts – to be looking out for us. On the other, it continues to run penis enlargement adverts, which have a far greater propensity to cause real damage.

The firm claims to cherish transparency, choice, and freedom of speech, yet it has taken it upon itself, through censorship, to “protect us from ourselves”. By banning cryptocurrency adverts, Google might believe that it is looking out for us. But people want – and deserve – options, and it is up to consumers to educate themselves, not have a major conglomerate make decisions for them.

The reality is that Google’s banning of these adverts won’t have any real impact on the crypto markets; the real sensitivity for crypto markers right now is uncertainty over possible regulation.

But the Google ban is significant for the wider issues: devolution of power, information curtailing, and net neutrality.

Read more: Central bank cryptocurrencies a "danger to global financial stability"

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