British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, currently embroiled in scandal for propagandistic electioneering via scraping Facebook profiles, had plans to issue its own cryptocurrency last year according to Reuters and NYT. Reportedly, the company was seeking to raise $30 million USD through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).
Crypto Project on Halt?
According to reports, Cambridge Analytica was in talks with several companies that advise on organizing ICOs last year.
Brittany Kaiser, a former employee at Cambridge Analytica, revealed to the New York Times that the quietly planned project would have allowed people to store their personal information and even sell it to advertisers. The private project was a way to for the company to enter the crypto space.
However, it is unknown if Cambridge Analytica is still working on the cryptocurrency project after the Facebook profile scraping scandal. However, a company spokesperson told Reuters that the embattled firm is indeed hyped about employing blockchain technology to help people secure their data online.
In an email statement, a Cambridge Analytica spokesperson commented:
“Prior to the Facebook controversy, we were developing a suite of technologies to help individuals reclaim their personal data from corporate entities and to have full transparency and control over how their personal data are used. We were exploring multiple options for people to manage and monetize their personal data, including blockchain technology.”
Dragon Coin Linked to Kaiser
Cambridge Analytica’s crypto project was headed by former CEO Alexander Nix, who was expelled from his position last month. Nix was publicly caught boasting about company’s unethical electioneering activities for political parties in other countries. However, CEO Nix’s exit and the Facebook data leak might have put the crypto project on hold.
The British analytics company is notably linked to another controversial cryptocurrency project. While working at Cambridge Analytica, the aforementioned Kaiser had been working on Dragon Coin — a decentralized currency for “casinos and players.” According to NYT findings, the Dragon Coin project had been funded by a gangster from Macau named Wan Kuok-koi. The gangster also goes by the name Broken Tooth.
Since the Facebook data leak case, Cambridge Analytica has caught the ire of regulators and the public. As such, it’s likely not the best time for the company to launch an ICO, as it would be difficult for investors to trust the brand.
If Cambridge Analytica did commence the project, would it be promising? Share your views in the comments section.
Images via Vox, CNET