Google Prepares for Potential Bitcoin ETFs by Easing Crypto Ad Rules

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For months, Wall Street titans, financial analysts, and crypto advocates have breathlessly speculated as to the likelihood of the imminent approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF, which could expose the world’s top cryptocurrency to untold billions of dollars worth of investment from the traditional finance world. 

Now, it appears that the world’s top website is weighing in—and actively preparing for that day. 

Google, which among other sectors dominates the world of online advertising, has announced that it will update its current prohibitions regarding crypto ads to allow for the promotion of “cryptocurrency coin trusts.”

The company’s new policy will allow advertisers verified by Google to promote “financial products that allow investors to trade shares in trusts holding large pools of digital currency.”

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The update is set to go into effect on January 29. Financial institutions have theorized that the first spot Bitcoin ETF in the United States is most likely to be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) between January 8 and 10.

While Google has not further clarified whether its definition of a crypto “trust” would include investments funds like ETFs (the company did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment), the move does seem to indicate that the famously risk-averse tech behemoth is preparing for a future in which crypto-based financial products will become an accepted and mainstream feature of the global economy.

Google’s advertising policies currently forbid products and services that promote the purchase, sale, or trade of cryptocurrencies, including DeFi protocols, initial coin offerings, and token liquidity pools. It does do business with crypto exchanges, so long as those exchanges are licensed, in compliance with local laws, and certified by Google. The company most recently softened its stance on NFT game advertisements in September.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs would allow traditional finance institutions and investors to gain exposure to BTC without holding any cryptocurrency themselves. While such a product has been repeatedly rejected by the SEC year after year, that calculus changed when BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, put forward its own application for a Bitcoin ETF earlier this summer.  

Analysts anticipate that the approval of a Bitcoin ETF could infuse the crypto market with a whopping $1 trillion worth of capital. On rumors alone of such an event, crypto prices across the board have risen substantially in recent weeks.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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