The British political consulting firm responsible for Facebook data infringe, Cambridge Analytica was planning to launch its own cryptocurrency earlier this year through initial coin offering before getting hooked on data leak scandal, Verge reports. A former employee at the company, Brittany Kaiser in her statement to New York Times confirmed that the virtual currency would have helped Cambridge Analytica to acquire online personal data, which could be sold.
The personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users has already been harvested by Cambridge Analytica using its special app during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Verge reports that the firm was anticipating raising at least $30 million through the ICO. Cambridge Analytica’s spokesman has confirmed the company’s interest to use blockchain – the essential technology for digital currencies but did not comment on the initial coin offering and as well as if efforts are still underway.
In an email to Reuters, a Cambridge Analytica spokesman said that the company was developing a suite of technology that can help individuals to have full control of their personal data and to retrieve their personal data from corporate bodies. And that the company was exploring several options in which people can monetize and manage their personal data even in blockchain technology, before the Facebook data Scandal. Cambridge Analytica brags that more persuasive and precisely target advertising was adopted from its “psychographic profiles” of the voters. In a marketing material sent to the company’s investors, it said that Ms Kaiser was “helping blockchain companies in using predictive modeling target investors for token sales.”
According to Verge, Cambridge Analytica rather promoted another virtual currency, Dragon Coin, behind the scenes by arranging a vacation trip to Macau for potential investors. Wan Kuok-Koi, Macau gangster with the nickname: Broken Tooth is also known to be a supporter of Dragon coin – a cryptocurrency used by gamblers. Dragon Coin, which failed to live up to its promises, claimed to raise more than $300 million from investors, though this is difficult to verify.
Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to launch an ICO began in the middle of 2017 and was supervised by employee Brittany Kaiser and the former CEO Alexander Nix who was forced out of office last month. The plans were still in the early stage when Facebook data infringe went public to change the company’s approach.
New York Times reports that the Dragon Coin supported by Cambridge Analytica sent documents to its investors in September, stating it had secured a partnership with Visa for a Dragon Coin debit card that would work on its network. But Visa spokesman said that no partnership with Dragon Coin took place. Dragon app was later assured by the company to be available in September. That did not happen even after promising again it would in January. Rather, Dragon Coin has spent its money sponsoring a team climbing Mount Everest and Formula E car racing.
ICOs have on many occasions become a fraudulent means of raising money. Even as it represents viable source companies can use to raise fund rapidly, considering companies like Telegram and Kodak depending on ICOs, the scheme has severally fallen under the SEC’s eye for proper regulation.