Facebook is among the biggest names in the world of internet technology. The company has been experimenting with a number of new products and features - and have recently begun to show an active interest towards the world of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Speculations about Facebook acquiring cryptocurrency giant Coinbase have been making rounds on the internet for the past several days - but they have become particularly intense following Facebook’s recent policy reversal on cryptocurrency advertisements.
In January 2018, Facebook announced that they are putting a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency and ICO related advertisements on their platform. However, in late June, the company relaxed this policy and their ban now applies only to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A recent blog post from Facebook stated that the company will now "allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers."
Is a Coinbase Acquisition on the Cards?
The reversal of this ban comes at a time when it is being highly speculated that the company might be looking forward to acquiring Coinbase. Coinbase is the biggest name in the US when it comes to cryptocurrencies. A report from The Independent states entrepreneur Oliver Isaacs, saying:
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Facebook made an attempt to acquire Coinbase. Whether [Coinbase CEO] Brian Armstrong and the team would agree is another question.”
Facebook announced in May that they are now setting up a team which is looking into the blockchain technology. Facebook’s David Marcus, who was earlier heading their Messenger division, has now been made the head of this newly formed division. Interestingly, David Marcus also happens to be a member of the board of Coinbase. Following this announcement from Facebook, news also broke that the company might be planning to launch their own digital currency soon.
Over the years, Coinbase has been one of the most proactive cryptocurrency organizations in the US. Of late, it has been hiring the best brains in the industry to work with them. Their recent acquisition of Earn.com oversaw Balaji Srinivasan joining Coinbase as their CTO while they also hired Alesia Haas as their first ever CFO. The company also announced a set of tools specifically meant for institutional investors.
Rumours have also been making rounds that Coinbase intends to go public soon. These rumours picked pace after the hiring of the CFO. However, a Facebook acquisition may potentially change these plans. However, the news about a potential acquisition remains completely unofficial for now.
Understanding Facebook’s Crypto Ad-Ban
Facebook had announced this ban on cryptocurrency advertising in light of a number of cryptocurrency frauds that had been reported. However, the company was particularly strict on ICOs even then - a policy it continues to follow even after the ban has been relaxed. ICOs can still not advertise on Facebook. The company had faced a lot of heat from cryptocurrency organizations but the company had justified stating that this ban was ‘intentionally broad’.
Six months later, this ban has now been relaxed. Facebook’s Product Management Director Rob Leathern stated that the company decided to relax this ban after it "looked at the best way to refine this policy — to allow some ads while also working to ensure that they’re safe."