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Updated: MailChimp prohibits cryptocurrency, ICO & blockchain email promotions

03 Apr 18

Email marketing giant MailChimp is the latest large enterprise to initiate a crackdown on cryptocurrency and ICO-related promotions by banning all activities related to those services.

An update to the company’s Acceptable Use policy now classes digital assets such as cryptocurrencies as prohibited content.

According to the policy, MailChimp “Cannot allow businesses involved in any aspect of the sale, transaction, exchange, storage, marketing or production of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering, to use MailChimp to facilitate or support any of those activities.”

However MailChimp’s move has riled some blockchain and ICO organisations because MailChimp has not made it clear how it will differentiate between scam emails and ones that are legitimately used to share blockchain news.

SecurityBrief approached MailChimp for comment. The company responded with the following statements:

"We have updated our Acceptable Use Policy to state that we do not allow businesses involved in any aspect of the sale, transaction, exchange, storage, marketing, or production of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering, to use MailChimp to facilitate or support any of those activities."

"We recognise that blockchain technology is in its infancy and has tremendous potential. Nonetheless, the promotion and exchange of cryptocurrencies is too frequently associated with scams, fraud, phishing, and potentially misleading business practices at this time. We made this decision to update our Acceptable Use Policy in order to protect the millions of businesses that use MailChimp for their marketing. We regularly review our policies as well as industry trends, and we will update our customers if anything changes."

"It’s important to note that this update to our policy does not prevent the discussion of related topics in messages sent through our platform. For example, journalists and publications may send cryptocurrency-related information as long as they’re not involved in the production, sale, exchange, storage, or marketing of cryptocurrencies."

The ban follows similar moves from Twitter, Google, and Facebook to shut down cryptocurrency advertising as there were too many dishonest practices and scams circulating on the networks.

Last month Google announced that it would not be displaying most advertisements for cryptocurrencies and other related content, unless advertisers are listed with their country’s financial services authority.

The new restrictions, due to be enforced from June this year, will apply to cryptocurrencies, binary options and synonymous products, contracts for difference, financial spread betting, and rolling spot forex.

Genuine advertisers must also make sure their advertisements and website landing pages comply with Google AdWords policies and with relevant legal requirements. Those requirements particularly apply to complex speculative financial products.

In February, Facebook announced that it has added cryptocurrencies, binary options and ICOs to its banned list under the Prohibited Financial Products and Services.

The company blames deceptive and misleading ads that seem to have ruined the field for both genuine advertisers and scammers.

“This policy is part of an ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook,” commented Facebook product management director Rob Leathern said at the time.

Leathern also said that Facebook has two core advertising principles that state ads should be safe so that users can ‘discover and learn’ about products without fear of deception.

Deception is certainly rife within the cryptocurrency and ICO world at the moment, with a number of scams.

One was against Japan cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, which was hacked and lost more than US$530 million in assets. The company is promising to refund the stolen funds.

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