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Google Relaxes Rules on NFT Gaming Ads Effective Mid-September

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In a recent policy shift, Google has decided to loosen its restrictions on advertising related to cryptocurrency, particularly in the realm of NFT (nonfungible token) gaming. As of September 15, the tech giant will permit ads for NFT games, provided they steer clear of promoting gambling activities.

According to an official blog post by Google, the updated policy will only apply to games that fulfill certain conditions. Specifically, the games should allow players to buy in-game items like virtual clothing, weapons, or enhanced features that can be used to improve the gaming experience or help players progress in the game.

However, the updated guidelines maintain a strict stance against ads for games that enable players to bet or stake NFTs against one another for rewards, including other NFTs or cryptocurrencies. Games that fall under the category of NFT casinos or any other form of social betting that involves real-world prizes will remain prohibited from advertising.

To qualify for running ads that incorporate gambling elements with NFTs, game developers and publishers must adhere to Google’s existing “Gambling and Games Policy” and obtain the necessary certifications from Google Ads.

Initial Crypto Ban

In early 2018, the cryptocurrency market was experiencing a lot of volatility, and there was a surge in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). While some of these ICOs were legitimate, many were not, leading to significant financial losses for uninformed investors. Additionally, the market was rife with scams, Ponzi schemes, and other fraudulent activities that posed a risk to consumers.

Google’s primary concern was consumer protection. The company wanted to shield users from the high risks associated with investing in or trading cryptocurrencies without adequate information or understanding. Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads at the time, emphasized that the potential for consumer harm was significant enough to warrant a cautious approach.

Scope of the Ban

The ban was comprehensive, covering advertisements for cryptocurrencies, ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice. This move followed similar actions by other tech giants like Facebook, which had also banned cryptocurrency ads a few months earlier.

The ban had a chilling effect on the cryptocurrency industry, making it more challenging for legitimate businesses to reach potential customers. However, it also helped to weed out many of the scam and fraudulent activities that were prevalent at the time.

Policy Revisions

In June 2021, Google relaxed its ban to some extent. It allowed cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets targeting the United States to advertise on its platform, provided they were registered with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or were a federal or state-chartered bank entity. Most recently, as of September 2023, Google has further relaxed its rules to allow ads for NFT games that don’t promote gambling.

Other Major Ad Platforms’ Policies on Cryptocurrency Ads

Bing (Microsoft Advertising)

Microsoft Advertising initially followed Google’s lead in banning cryptocurrency-related ads in 2018. Although the platform has made some revisions to its policies, it still maintains a cautious approach. Advertisers are required to meet specific legal and regulatory standards to run cryptocurrency-related ads.


Facebook’s journey with cryptocurrency advertising has been a tale of caution, ban, and eventual relaxation. Initially, the social media giant banned all crypto-related ads in January 2018, citing concerns about scams and security issues. However, the platform later revised its stance, allowing advertisers to run cryptocurrency campaigns, provided they adhere to specific guidelines and obtain approval for compliance. The aim is to prevent misleading ads while still supporting educational and legitimate promotional activities.


Twitter has been comparatively lenient but not without its set of rules. The platform prohibits ads for cryptocurrency ICOs, IEOs, and mining globally. However, it allows ads for cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, and other related services, provided the advertisers obtain pre-approval and comply with local laws. The policy is designed to balance the promotion of innovation with consumer protection.

While each platform has its unique set of rules, the overarching theme is caution and compliance. Advertisers looking to promote cryptocurrency-related products or services must navigate a maze of regulations and approvals. The policies aim to strike a balance between enabling innovation in the crypto space and ensuring consumer protection.

Featured image by Pawel Czerwinski

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