Bitcoin prices fell to the lowest levels in a month Wednesday after Google said it would ban ads for initial coin offerings and digital currency trading platforms as regulatory oversight in the global cryptocurrency market tightens.
The move, which is set to take effect in June, follows a similar decision by Facebook and suggests regulatory pressures are starting to inhibit the marketing potential for traders and investors in the $360 billion market for global cryptcurrencies.
In June 2018, Google will update the Financial services policy to restrict the advertisement of Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting," the company said in a statement. "In addition, ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve: Binary options and synonymous products; Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice."
Bitcoins were marked at $8,713 each on the bitstamp exchange in Luxembourg, which feeds prices into the CME Group futures contract, after hitting a one-month low of $8,610.57 earlier in the session.
Carney's comments followed a report from the Wall Street Journal Thursday that said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had issued subpoenas linked to its probe into so-called initial coin offerings, a process in which companies raise money through the sale of new digital coins, which some studies suggest hit $5.6 billion last year and at least $1.6 billion over the past two months.
"I think our Main Street investors look at these virtual currency platforms and assume they are regulated in the same way that a stock is regulated and, as I said, it's far from that and I think we should address that," SEC chairman Jay Clayton told lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 6. "Those who engage in semantic gymnastics or elaborate re-structuring exercises in an effort to avoid having a coin be a security are squarely in the crosshairs of our enforcement provision."