Google has finally betrayed its true feelings on cryptocurrency. Well, maybe not, but a tongue-in-cheek advertisement for the search giant does take a few potshots at the nascent asset class.
During the ad, which promotes Google’s new Call Screen service, one character, Abby, remarks that the other’s electricity bill is “super high.” That character, Teddy, explains that he mines cryptocurrency, which “takes a lot of energy”
“Cryptocurrency? That money’s not real,” Abby says.
“Yeah, well I’ve got news for you: money isn’t real,” Teddy replies.
“You gonna live that lie?” the skeptical Abby retorts as the ad concludes.
The exchange is somewhat ironic, considering that the company’s co-founder has taken an interest in crypto mining. A few months ago, Sergey Brin (now president of Google parent company Alphabet Inc.) credited ethereum mining — which, at least until currently, relies primarily on GPU chips — with helping drive the computing boom. Later, he revealed that he had begun mining ethereum with his 10-year-old son. Perhaps the ad was taking a lighthearted jab at Brin.
However, despite Brin’s interest in cryptocurrency, Google, along with other major ad companies including Facebook, banned cryptocurrency-related advertisements earlier this year, warning that risky investments in this and other financial sectors had the potential to harm retail investors. Several weeks ago, however, the company — which was on the receiving end of nearly 39 percent of all digital advertising spending in 2017 — reversed the ban on cryptocurrency ads.
Last week, Google responded to the growing threat of cryptocurrency mining malware by banning obfuscated Chrome extensions that include mining scripts. While some of these extensions had valid purposes — such as allowing a user to donate their idle computer resources to mine coins for charity — malicious developers had also concealed mining scripts inside other extensions that were purportedly designed for completely different functions.
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