The company behind Facebook's massive data breach scandal, Cambridge Analytica, tried to develop its own cryptocurrency last year and was planning to raise funds through an initial offer of currencies, Reuters and The New York Times reported today. The digital currency would have helped people store personal data online and even sell it, said former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser at the Times.
Cambridge Analytica, which obtained data from 87 million Facebook users, expected to raise up to $ 30 million through the company, anonymous sources told Reuters. Cambridge Analytica confirmed to Reuters that it had previously explored the blockchain technology, but did not confirm the offer of the currency and did not say whether the efforts are still under way. The Verge has contacted Cambridge Analytica and Brittany Kaiser for their comments.
According to reports, the company also tried to promote another digital currency behind the scenes. He arranged for potential investors to take a vacation trip to Macau in support of Dragon Coin, a cryptocurrency aimed at casino players. Dragon Coin has been supported by a Macao gangster Wan Kuok-koi, nicknamed Broken Tooth, according to documents obtained by the Times.
Cambridge Analytica began working on its own initial coin offer in mid-2017 and the initiative was partly overseen by CEO Alexander Nix and former employee Brittany Kaiser. The company's plans to launch an ICO were still in the early stages when Nix was suspended last month and Facebook's data leakage began to get the attention of the public.
ICOs have become a sometimes dubious way to raise money, even rivaling initial venture capital financing at the stage of effectiveness of some companies. Companies like Kodak and Telegram have moved to launch their own ICOs and reap financial rewards. But even when they emerged as a new way for companies to obtain funds quickly, ICOs have increasingly fallen under the SEC eye as securities that must be regulated.
The brief adventure of Cambridge Analytica with the ICOs is a strange convergence of two questionable parts of the internet that are now under new scrutiny: cryptocurrency and personal data.