Cambridge Analytica allegedly planned to hold an initial coin offering (ICO) for their own digital currency, prior to becoming embroiled in a scandal involving the misuse of data from Facebook.
Sources familiar with the situation spoke to Reuters Tuesday, noting that Cambridge Analytica had consulted with a company known for advising the structuring of ICOs. It is reported they were looking to source up to USD 30 million from the ICO.
A spokesman for Cambridge Analytica did not confirm if the firm was still pursuing the venture but did comment on their intentions to use blockchain technology in securing data in their care online. They stated: ”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.”
This seems ironic considering that the nature of the scandal they were involved in entailed gaining and sharing Facebook users data improperly and without the users’ knowledge. The spokesman continued in their email to Reuters, saying that they were “exploring multiple options for people to manage and monetize their personal data, including blockchain technology”.
Cambridge Analytica notably worked for the US presidential campaign of Donal Trump in 2016, before knowledge of the Facebook scandal was known publicly. Earlier this month, Facebook said that over 87 million users may have been affected by the data analytics consultancy’s breach of privacy, although Cambridge Analytica reiterated that data was properly licensed on far fewer users from the research firm they were working on behalf of.
As the popularity of digital currencies continues to increase, ICOs are one of the most popular ways for firms to raise money for their startups.
According to research from Autonomous, companies have so far raised USD 3.5 billion this year through ICOs. This style of funding is popular with investors as they can exchange their tokens on online trading platforms, often at a profit.
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