Facebook Bans Bitcoin & ICO Ads

bansFacebook Inc. on Tuesday said it is banning ads promoting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as those about initial coin offerings (ICOs) and binary options.

The social networking giant said in a blog that it is making the move because these are “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” the Menlo Park-based company said in the blog. “That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

The move comes a few weeks after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he would look into cryptocurrencies as part of a promise to correct persistent problems at his social networking business — including the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation.

He cited encryption and cryptocurrency as “important countertrends” that could help in the fight against those problems at that time. But he also warned “they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

Facebook said it is being intentionally broad now in the new ban, barring any advertising for crypto, ICOs and binary options on all of its platforms, including Instagram.

“We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” it said.

A report from Ernst & Young last week said that about 10 percent of the $3.7 billion raised through ICOs last year was stolen. It also said that only 25 percent of ICOs hit their fundraising goals in November, versus 90 percent in June.

Binary options trading involves betting on whether certain financial indices will rise or fall by a certain time. It’s the type of all-or-nothing investment that U.K. regulators earlier this month cracked down on, saying that many were operating illegally.

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California Law Firm Provides Legal Counsel to Crypto Users – The Merkle

bitcoinlawCryptocurrency enthusiasts are susceptible to losing funds in many different ways. Aside from human error, there are risks posed by failed ICOs, hacked exchanges, or other calamities. Taylor-Copeland Law is one of the first law firms specializing in these issues. We may be witnessing the creation of a new niche within the legal system as we know it today.

FOCUSING ON EXCHANGES AND ICO MISHAPS

It was only a matter of time until law firms started paying attention to cryptocurrency. Especially with all the issues arising over the past few years, there is a booming market for all companies specializing in cryptocurrency. With so many exchanges getting hacked, disappearing, or failing to provide optimal services, a lot of users are often left frustrated.

Moreover, the initial coin offering industry poses several major risks to consumer funds. No one knows for sure if any given ICO project is legitimate or how things will play out once money has been raised. The Tezos ICO is a good example of how things can go awry pretty quickly if problems aren’t addressed in a timely manner. However, there has often been no legal repercussions for exchanges or ICO teams that fail to deliver on their original promises.

That situation is finally changing, thanks to law firms such as Taylor-Copeland Law. The company has a dedicated page on its website explaining how blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies will have an impact on our daily lives. However, with the regulatory and legal framework still making it difficult for businesses and individuals to comply with the law, something will need to change.

Furthermore, the company also provides services relating to initial coin offerings. A lot of investors are harmed by projects and teams which misrepresent their projects and intentions before or during their crowd sales. There need to be legal remedies in this regard as well, which is what this firm aims to provide. Additionally, they focus on the taxation of crypto investment gains and help companies check all the right legal boxes before they decide to organize an ICO.

It is expected that we will see even more law firms focus on these specific areas in the near future. There is a growing contingent of cryptocurrency users who will require legal counsel at one point or another. Whether or not all cryptocurrency users will decide to pursue that option is something else entirely. A lot of users may be somewhat ashamed to admit they were victims of an exchange mishap or a malicious ICO project.

Ten Successful ICOs and Three ICO Scams

The recent proliferation of companies using the ICO or Initial Coin Offering to raise funds has seen it’s share of successes since 2016 and it’s a great way for companies to raise funds without the restrictive and costly regulatory compliance issues associated with other fundraising vehicles such as Regulation Crowd Funding or IPO’s (Initial Public Offering). According to The Merkle online journal the top ten ICO’s in 2017 to date are:

 

10. MONETHA

Although this project was only launched a short while ago, the amount of money raised surprised a lot of people. Monetha aims to provide a globally trusted commerce solution powered by the Ethereum blockchain to merchants in all industries. By raising US$36.6 million during the crowdsale, the ICO showed that people have high expectations for this project moving forward.

9. AETERNITY

Bringing smart contract technology to the masses will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Aeternity aims to do exactly that by making smart contracts interface with real-world data.  Whether or not the company will be successful in doing so remains to be seen. However, with US$36.96 million raised during the ICO, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this concept.

8. SONM

The world of supercomputing can benefit from more decentralization. Although SONM is competing against other projects in this industry, it also has a tremendous amount of potential. Its ICO raised US$42 million, which is a modest amount compared to how highly-valued this project can become, given enough time. There is not much hype surrounding SONM, as the team mainly focuses on developing a working ecosystem rather than making empty promises.

7. MOBILEGO

One of the more fascinating projects to date goes by the name of MobileGO. Bringing the world of cryptocurrency and mobile gaming together is quite a major undertaking. However, the project has seen its fair share of successes so far. This also explains how it raised US$53.069 million during its initial crowdsale. It’s definitely a project worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

6. TENX

In the world of cryptocurrency-related debit cards, one can never have enough competition. TenX is one of the ICO projects launching in 2017 which aims to make a big impact in this regard. By raising US$64 million during the ICO, there has been a lot of initial interest in this project. However, that amount of money is no guarantee for success whatsoever.

5. STATUS

Many people will recall the Status ICO for the wrong reasons. It’s not because the project is bad, as some real progress has been made. Unfortunately, the Status ICO highlighted major scalability issues for the Ethereum network, which got stuck due to the number of people trying to invest. When everything was said and done, Status raised US$90 million rather quickly.

4. BANCOR

The Bancor ICO has received a lot of initial interest due to the involvement of Tim Draper. This project is also one of those ICOs which sold out very quickly, for obvious reasons. Raising US$153 million is not shabby. It will be interesting to see what the team will do with this money, as the expectations of them are incredibly high.

3. EOS (STAGE 1)

The EOS project has turned a lot of heads even though no one knows for sure if the team can deliver on its promises. There is a lot of interest in the concept, though, which has already translated into successfully raising US$185 million during its ICO. Putting that money to good use will be the number one priority right now.

2. TEZOS

Creating a decentralized blockchain capable of governing itself through a digital commonwealth sounds pretty interesting on paper. Bringing this technology to the masses will be something else entirely, though. Tezos successfully raised US$232.319 million to bring this blockchain to fruition. Whether or not the product will succeed in the end still remains to be determined.

1. FILECOIN

A lot of people were legitimately surprised by the Filecoin ICO, for obvious reasons. This project raised US$257 million out of the blue, even though the concept appears to be solid. A decentralized file storage network will certainly have major implications. Users will also earn Filecoin for hosting files, which is something a lot of enthusiasts will look forward to

These are some of the success stories to date, however, there have been many ICO’s that took advantage of the unregulated investment vehicle and The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) issued several stern warnings to investors about the dangers and risks involved with ICOs although they have yet to issue any regulations I am confident that they are forthcoming. China and South Korea both issued total bans on  ICO’s until they can come up with some regulations while the United States has issued several warnings and has stated that they may pursue enforcement actions retroactively against any ICO’s that are done prior to whatever regulations they may come out with in the future. The Merkel recently published the following three ICOs as being obvious scams:

3) OPAIR

The Opair ICO was one of the earliest noted scams in ICO history happening back in 2016. They raised more than $1M with the promise of decentralized debit cards.

It should have been pretty obvious from the start, that a no-name group of individuals could not overhaul the banking system and provide decentralized debit cards that would work anywhere right off the bat, but with more and more exciting new Blockchain technology hitting the markets, people were hopeful.

Things started to unravel when users pointed out that the Opair team seemed to have fake LinkedIn profiles, and despite providing tons of personal information and pictures, refused to attend events or go on video calls for “privacy reasons.”

Not long after the Opair token was listed on exchanges, lots of coins were rapidly dumped, the main website was taken offline and the team went silent.

Sleuths on Bitcointalk.org later realized that the conman behind the Opair later launched at least one other scam ICO known as EBITZ (a Zcash clone) as the scammer use some of the same server DNS records for the new website.

2) BITCAD

There is still a bit of debate about BitCad, if it was a downright scam or if it was just a failed attempt at something larger. But, none the less a lot of people lost a lot of money.

BitCad raised $5M promising to be, well, everything. The BitCad ICO project aimed at replacing nearly every component of modern business, government, trading and transaction facilitation and gave very few insights into how they were going to make this happen.

While at first, they boasted a pretty large team, after the ICO team members started to depart the team quite rapidly, and announcements from the team ground to a halt.

The team was supposed to deliver the first component of the platform back in May 2017, that included a smart contract constructor and biometric verification, by October 2017 they were also supposed to launch a dispute resolution department, a multistakeholder token model, and a decentralized trade engine. None of which have been launched yet.

People are still holding their breath hoping for signs of life in the BitCad platform, but this is another ICO where they were either being sold snake oil or a team took on a project that was way over their heads.

1) AUTHORSHIP

Authorship was an ERC20 token that raised $1M with the promise of creating a system for writers, translators, and journalists to earn and exchange ATS tokens for their works.

Participants should have been skeptical when the tokens creators mentioned the desire to build out this token from their experience running the bookstore: http://www.ireadbooks.org/ – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the terrible e-commerce website that only sells pencils and blank notebooks isn’t much of a “bookstore.”

They also listed their address as “11015 York Road Cockeysville Maryland” which is the home of an entirely unrelated ‘Precision Auto Mechanics” business which seems to have no relation to the coin creators.

What really did in Authorship though was their failure to distribute tokens from the bounty and referral programs. It wasn’t until then that users realized they had been scammed and started digging into the addresses above.

Arguably had Authorship distributed the tokens, we may have categorized this just as a failed attempt at an ICO rather than a downright scam.