Baidu Removes Bitcoin, Virtual Currency Advertising

Although China is one of the largest markets for bitcoin trading, Baidu recently removed advertising for all types of virtual currency from its online service, according to one report.

The details about Baidu stopping all cryptocurrency ads comes from two of China’s largest bitcoin exchanges, OKCoin and Huobi. Bloomberg News reports that separately Huobi CEO Leon Li, and OKCoin’s Jiang Anming, a member of its search engine marketing team, confirmed the ban.

Ironically, Baidu participated as a "partner" in a $60 million funding round in June 2016, helping China-based Circle -- a bitcoin peer-to-peer payment firm -- raise capital. The funding was led by Beijing-based venture capital firm IDG Capital Partners, the funding round includes global venture capital and private equity firm Breyer Capital.

Baidu may have banned the ads, but the topic of using bitcoin or other digital currencies continues. The Wall Street Journalreported Thursday that the startup R3 CEV has been working to create standards for financial services based on "blockchain" technology, the open-ledger system used to trade the virtual currency bitcoin with a goal to sell the product to banks.

The digital currency also is being used as a form of payment for ad blocking. Brave, the maker of an ad-blocking browser, raised $4.5 million to expand its efforts to allow individuals to send bitcoin payments to their favorite Web site in exchange for an ad free experience.

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