Skip to Content
Blockchain

Cambridge Analytica sought to create its own cryptocurrency, because of course it did

April 17, 2018

Before coming under scrutiny for how it obtained Facebook user data on 87 million people, the voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica had plans to create its own cryptocurrency, according to the New York Times.

Shady connections: Besides planning its own initial coin offering (ICO), the company also helped promote others, including one associated with a notorious gangster in Macau. (What the hell is an ICO? ← Here’s a primer.)

A fast-evolving market: Had it come to fruition, Cambridge Analytica’s token likely wouldn't have escaped scrutiny itself, though. Digital token sales have gone on for years without much oversight, but in 2017 the market exploded, drawing the attention of policymakers, who are now scrambling to figure out how to regulate it.

Pushing the limits: Cambridge Analytica’s ICO plans reflect an inclination to engage in controversial high-tech schemes beyond creepy data mining. As Tim Swanson, a cryptocurrency industry consultant, told the Times, “There are only a handful of more controversial areas it could have expanded its business into."

To keep up with the fast-moving world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, subscribe to our twice-weekly newsletter, Chain Letter. It’s free!

 

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.