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Facebook Partly Reverses Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads Amid Rumors of Coinbase Ties

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Facebook, the first and largest ad platform to dump cryptocurrency advertising, has declared an easing of its months-long ban; although the social media giant intends to keep its rules vis-à-vis initial coin offerings in place, while hoping to see feedback after the amendment to its policy.

The move to give a fresh start to crypto-advertising came five months after the major social network launched its massive struggle against frequent scams in the promising, nascent sphere. However, easing the regulations, Facebook announced that the companies willing to place ads for digital coins would have to be filtered: only preapproved license holders or those traded on a public exchange will be allowed to cooperate with Facebook.

"We'll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time," Facebook Product Management Director Rob Leathern said in a statement.

Meanwhile, no ads for initial coin offerings, which are seen by many as a golden opportunity to raise money for a startup, will be allowed on Facebook, in light of a spate of heists and other scams that have shaken the blockchain world in recent years. 

Last month, the social network titan announced its biggest management reshuffle in history, which oversaw the launch of a corporate investigative blockchain group reporting directly to Mike Schroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer (CTO). The group is led by David Marcus, the former head of Facebook Messenger and a board member of Coinbase – one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges, which shortly fueled rumors of Facebook’s potential business involvement in the crypto arena.

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Earlier this year, however, tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter embarked on a crackdown against cryptocurrencies, citing the “unregulated” environment they evolve in and abrupt large-scale swings in their value. Bitcoin, for instance, having reached a historic record of $20,000 per coin in mid-December, dramatically dipped to a mere $6,000 in the subsequent two months, with financiers increasingly referring to its state as "a coma."

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Separately, cryptocurrency regulators have long been taken with a pinch of salt, setting up initial coin offerings to raise cash, as well as so-called token sales. In 2017 the Chinese government opted for a total ban of all ICOs, whereas earlier this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission curbed an ICO by a Texas firm called AriseBank, having accused it of using celebrity support to supposedly defraud investors of a whopping $600 million.

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