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Facebook is Banning Ads for ICOs and Bitcoin

Social media giant Facebook has unveiled a new policy that bans advertisements involving bitcoin and initial coin offerings, among others.

Rob Leathern, the company’s product management director, wrote in a Jan. 30 blog post that the new policy targets “ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.”

Most users of the social media site have likely encountered ads for initial coin offerings, including those promising sky-high investment returns as well as bonuses for early participation. Other advertisements seen on the platform pitch investment advice around the crypto market.

Such ads, Leathern argued, are being targeted as part of an evolving policy against potentially fraudulent activities on the site.

Leathern added that the policy extends to other platforms under Facebook’s purview, including the popular photo-sharing app Instagram. He suggested that the policy could be changed in the future, though he didn’t offer any kind of timeline on that front.

“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram,” he wrote. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”

Hong Kong to Educate Public on ICOs and Crypto

Hong Kong authorities have launched a campaign to educate the public on the risks associated with ICO and cryptocurrency investment.

Kicking off yesterday, the campaign started on Jan. 29 and was launched by the government’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and the Investor Education Centre (IEC), a subsidiary of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

Aiming to reach citizens via a range of channels, including the city’s metro system, TV and social media, the campaign comes as the latest government-led initiative in offering the public a holistic understanding of ICO and cryptocurrency investment following the recent rise in market interest.

“Through this series of public education initiatives, the government aims to provide the public with a correct and comprehensive understanding of ICOs and ‘cryptocurrencies’, so that they can thoroughly assess the risks before making transactions or investment decisions,” said Joseph Chan, the under secretary of the FSTB.

In addition, the IEC has made ICO- and cryptocurrency-related resources available to the public through its website, called the Chin Family.

The initiative also follows recent warnings from the SFC which specified in September last year that tokens issued through ICOs could be regarded and thus regulated as securities. The financial regulator also stated last month that only licensed firms are allowed to offer bitcoin futures and other cryptocurrency-related financial instruments.

Investment Fund Moves to Capitalize on Ethereum Ecosystem

One of Canada’s largest investment funds is hoping to leverage the ethereum ecosystem through a new venture.

Ethereum Capital, a recently incorporated entity formed primarily by Canadian investment group OMERS, is raising $50 million and preparing for a reverse-takeover procedure. When the funding round is completed on Feb. 16, the company will invest the funds in both ether tokens and blockchain startups, according to a press release.

The ultimate goal, the firm said, is to become “the central business and investment hub for the ethereum ecosystem.” To that end, the company will also purchase controlling stakes in companies using ethereum-based tokens.

The company explained it would sell 2 million subscription receipts, valued at $2.50 each, in order to achieve its funding goal.

Once this goal is accomplished, each share of the company, called Ethereum Shares, will be later replaced with a share in Movit Media Corp., which will subsequently take over Ethereum Capital. The company will keep the Ethereum Capital name.

The new firm’s advisors include both traditional investors and representatives from blockchain startups. Notably, Liam Horne, a member of ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin’s L4 Ventures, will serve as an officer of Ethereum Capital’s board.

Joey Krug, a director of Ethereum Capital and co-founder of decentralized oracle startup Augur, said ethereum’s potential is largely untapped, according to a statement.

Krug said:

The Ethereum network is just beginning to demonstrate its potential, with a greater number of transactions and applications being created almost daily. I believe it has the potential to disrupt many existing industries and am excited to advise Ethereum Capital due to its position to capitalize on the most promising of these resulting companies through strategic acquisitions.