Facebook lifts cryptocurrency ban amid rumours of Coinbase bitcoin exchange takeover

Facebook has reversed its controversial ban on cryptocurrency adverts, prompting further speculation that the tech giant may be planning something major in the space.

The lifting of the ban – put in place in January amid fears that ads were used for fraud – was welcomed by industry figures, with some saying that it indicated the firm’s recognition of the potential of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“Customer safety and education about the market should remain a priority, but a blanket ban is a poor approach to new ideas,” Iqbal Gandham, the UK managing director of the eToro investment platform told The Independent. “Technology giants like Facebook are aware of the potential of blockchain technology to fundamentally change the financial system.”

But perhaps more significant than the immediate implications for cryptocurrency firms is what the move signals about Facebook’s own ambitions.

Bitcoin’s volatile history in pictures

1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first Bitcoin block in 2009

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of Bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’


2/8 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world Bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins – the equivalent of $90 million at today’s prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

3/8 Silk Road opens for business

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for Bitcoin

4/8 The first Bitcoin ATM appears

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever Bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange Bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

5/8 The fall of MtGox

The world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers Bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all Bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

6/8 Would the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

7/8 Bitcoin’s big split

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the Bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of Bitcoin‘s underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash


8/8 Bitcoin’s price sky rockets

Towards the end of 2017, the price of Bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year


1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first Bitcoin block in 2009

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of Bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the…

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