May 10, 2022
Did you know that saying "is now the time to buy?" instead of "buy the dip" could be the difference between being allowed to run crypto ads and not? Advertising in the cryptocurrency industry requires meticulous planning, oversight, and regulation. The complexities of this process are often not explained well by ad platforms, and it can be easy to forget that increasing your advertising investment as a crypto business may be difficult with the current regulations and platform specific rules. That’s why we have created a brief guide to inform you of advertising rules, licenses required, and regulations across different platforms for crypto businesses.
Here are the platforms that we will cover in this guide:
The most relevant document is from Meta's Cryptocurrency Ads Addendum, consisting of seven separate sections that inform businesses what they need to do for their ads to get approval. Previously, the difficulty of advertising on Meta resulted from the small number of regulatory licenses they recognized. On December 1st, 2021, Meta announced that they would be expanding the number of regulatory licenses they accept from 3 to 27! As a result, products and services related to complex financial products like crypto wallets have more freedom to advertise. While Meta has expanded eligibility for crypto ads as the industry has matured, they require that crypto companies in the U.S. register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN is a federal regulator specializing in anti-money laundering regulations concerning financial institutions. Cryptocurrency is designated by federal legislation as a commodity, so if your crypto business is involved in buying, selling, or transmitting cryptocurrencies for its customers, you must register as a Money Service Business (MSB) to avoid money laundering offenses. Meta's new policy requires advertisers to provide detailed information about their business and certify they are not engaging in any illegal activity. India and Italy are two examples of countries where Meta allows crypto businesses to advertise without registering on FinCEN.
Advertising crypto on Google in the U.S. currently requires a money transfer license (MTL). What does an MTL do? At the most basic level, it allows you to transmit money to another location by any means. MTLs are useful for crypto companies as they:
The majority of cryptocurrency-dealing businesses in the U.S. fall under the MSB category of a money transmitter. FINCEN defines a business as a money transmitter if they “act as an intermediary between two parties that send or exchange money for another currency." Registering as an MSB requires your business to file a FINCEN Form 107 — and then wait for approval! Furthermore, this process must be completed within 180 days of the MSB being established. Once approved, you'll be able to advertise on Google. Just remember you’ll need to also have a FINCEN registration if you want to continue advertising in the US after 8/3/22.
It is only possible for companies in general to advertise on Reddit in the U.S. For crypto companies specifically, Reddit requires every advertiser to have a dedicated representative to help them run ads. These account managers will assist you in organizing assets, editing videos, and providing best practices on successfully navigating the platform within its parameters. You'll also need to spend at least $10k per month on ads—a requirement that smaller companies may not be able to meet. Like Meta and Google, Reddit requires proper licensing and registration from an appropriate regulator like FINCEN. While Reddit has relatively simple ad policies compared to numerous other advertising platforms, it lacks the performance algorithm of advertising on Facebook or Google, making it less frequently used.
Twitter is one of the better platforms for crypto companies in the U.S. to advertise on, mainly because of the speed at which information gets spread. Following suit with other advertising platforms, Twitter requires that crypto businesses register with FinCen as part of a larger effort to crack down on bad actors in the crypto space. Twitter requires all crypto-related ads to be pre-approved before running them on the platform. This policy is intended to prevent scams and misinformation from spreading on Twitter. To request approval for your crypto ad, you'll need to submit an application with a few pieces of information about your business and why you're running the ad.
Being an interactive website where users provide answers to questions, teach new topics, and solve problems, crypto is a massive topic of interest on Quora. In fact, topics related to crypto wallets, exchanges, and other services are often some of the hottest talking points on the entire platform. Quora ads allow the promotion of exchanges, wallets, financial services that help manage people's existing cryptocurrencies, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). However, there is a ban on the use of trading bots on exchanges and mining platforms. The critical requirement for quora is that all crypto-related ads must be used as a source of educational material, providing general information about cryptocurrencies and not serving as investment advice. Additionally, direct CTA's for investment is prohibited, and will lead to a suspension of the ad account. As a result of such policies, the ability of U.S.-based crypto companies to advertise on Quora seems to be case by case. Similar to Meta, both Italy and India don't have restrictions for advertising on Quora.
Like Twitter, crypto ads require prior approval from Snap in order to advertise. Crypto companies in the U.K. can advertise on Snap, but it is unclear what specific license is needed.
Attention is the biggest lever for growth in advertising, and the world of cryptocurrency is no different when it comes to using paid ads to gain attention. However, navigating the numerous advertising regulations and policies can be difficult for crypto businesses, because every platform has different rules and priorities. In this article, we make it a little easier for you by simplifying the basic requirements for major advertising platforms, while also keeping you prepared for the myriad of problems that might arise if you throw caution into the wind.