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. Last month, the social network announced its biggest ever management reshuffle, which included the launch of an exploratory blockchain group that reports directly to the company’s CTO, Mike Schroepfer.

At the head of the group is David Marcus, the former head of Facebook Messenger and a board member of Coinbase – one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. Rumours that Facebook is actually interested in buying Coinbase have previously been reported by The Economist, who noted that the lack of an incumbent giant in the crypto space is why major tech firms are joining investors and startups in showing an interest in the industry.

Experts say that not only could the acquisition boost Facebook’s value and utility, the involvement of the technology giant would add legitimacy to cryptocurrency markets. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Facebook made an attempt to acquire Coinbase,” tech entrepreneur Oliver Isaacs told The Independent. Read more from independent.co.uk…

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