Microsoft’s internet browser Bing blocked more than 5 million cryptocurrency ads last year.
The data was revealed in Microsoft’s annual review of advertising quality.
Microsoft explained that digital advertising is a powerful and open channel.
“it is also prone to abuse by bad actors trying to defraud and deceive users by delivering harmful and misleading ads, with persuasive content and innocent looking links that lead to phishing, malware attacks and other types of fraud,” said the report.
In 2018, Microsoft suspended nearly 200,000 accounts and removed 900 million bad ads and 300,000 bad sites from Bing.
Cryptocurrency was one area of key focus for Microsoft – and other online advertising networks.
“Cryptocurrency as an asset class saw a bull run in 2018, increasing valuations multi-fold. The high returns and volatility of cryptocurrencies invited a lot of interest from retail investors and speculators looking to make a quick return,” said the report.
“There wasn’t much regulatory oversight, and the overall pseudo-anonymity built into currencies like bitcoin made cryptocurrency a prime target for fraudsters and scam artists to defraud end-users.
“Bing Ads therefore decided to ban cryptocurrency content from our advertising platform and blocked more than 5 million ads containing cryptocurrency content.”
Miner dumps bid to go public
In one of the most expected announcements, cryptocurrency mining company Bitmain has dumped plans to go public with a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
An online announcement confirmed the company’s application for listing on the stock exchange had expired.
“We do recognise that despite the huge potential of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, it remains a relatively young industry which is proving its value. We hope regulatory authorities, media, and the general public can be more inclusive to this young industry. We will restart the listing application work at an appropriate time in the future,” said a spokesman.
But falling cryptocurrency values and a plunge in profits that saw Bitmain lose $500 million in the last three months of 2018 put paid to the ambition to go public.
The company has pledged to continue supporting cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence projects.
“We continue to fund open-source developers, projects and organisations. For those that we see potential and share our vision, we fund them, often with no strings attached,” said the spokesman.