Cambridge Analytica, the data services firm at the epicenter of the recent public relations nightmare faced by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), was looking to make a push into the world of digital currencies via an initial coin offering (ICO).
The company’s ICO effort was overseen by former CEO Alexander Nix, but Nix departed Cambridge Analytica last month amid the Facebook data controversy. Though shares of Facebook, the largest U.S. social media company, bounced back modestly this week, the stock is still down nearly 15 percent from its 52-week high, a decline caused in large part by the data-sharing controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica.
“Documents and emails obtained by The New York Times show that Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to help promote another group’s digital token, the Dragon Coin, associated the firm with a famous gangster in Macau who has gone by the nickname Broken Tooth,” reports The New York Times.
Last year, there were hundreds of ICOs with the 10 largest raising well over $1 billion on a combined basis. Year-to-date, there have been 183 ICOs, which have raised over $6 billion combined, according to Coinschedule.com. March saw the bulk of that activity with $2.94 billion raised.
Not only was Cambridge Analytica looking to launch its own ICO, the company has actively looked for work with blockchain companies and other firms looking to launch their own digital tokens.
Jill Carlson, a blockchain consultant, “said the Cambridge Analytica employees had bragged about their success in helping get President Trump elected and their ability to carefully target advertising campaigns using data from social networks like Facebook,” according to the New York Times.
The employee in charge of the ICO business at Cambridge Analytica departed the firm in February. Year-to-date, Janauary has been the busiest month for ICO’s with 56. Month-to-date, April has seen 22 initial offerings for digital tokens.
CoinSchedule applies trust grades of “A” to “E” on ICOs with A being the highest and “E” being the worst. Most of the ICOs on the site have grades of C or lower.
BITCOIN PRICE SHOOTS TO $34,000!
Bitcoin’s price just shot to $34,000 despite plunging as low as $30,000 earlier today. The leading cryptocurrency trades for $33,950 as of this article’s writing and is up over 15% in the past 24 hours.
After peaking at $33,000 in the morning, BTC plunged from $33,000 to $30,000 in the span of two hours.
Altcoins are continuing to outperform BTC. Ethereum is up 8.5% in the past 24 hours while most other altcoins have gained only a handful of percent.
PayPal’s crypto trading goes live in the US!
Customers will be able to trade up to $20,000 a week, rather than the originally announced $10,000.
On Thursday, PayPal’s crypto trading and payments went live for all eligible customers in the United States.
Per its updated announcement, PayPal ended its waitlist for customers looking to use cryptocurrency in the U.S. Trading features a limit of $20,000 per week, which is double the originally announced $10,000.
PayPal ultimately plans to make crypto payments available at 26 million merchants globally.
A representative said that PayPal will notify U.S. customers about the general availability of crypto services in the coming days.
Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, noted that the shift to supporting crypto was driven by what he sees as an “inevitable” drift toward virtual currencies.
“The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly.”
Much-anticipated global services are expected to launch at the beginning of 2021, alongside crypto payments on Venmo. PayPal initially announced its plans to integrate crypto three weeks ago. The announcement led to a boost in BTC price.
As part of its crypto services, PayPal received the first conditional Bitlicense from the New York Department of Financial Services, one of the most hawkish sub-national financial regulators in the U.S. Many noted that the terms of PayPal’s crypto services would entail that coins bought on the platform would not be able to leave, likely as part of its compromise with regulators in bringing crypto services to such a wide user base.
Story from Markets Bitcoin Breaks $15K as Investor Numbers Peak
Bitcoin’s rally is still going as investors continue to accumulate the cryptocurrency, ignoring overbought signals on technical indicators.
- Bitcoin (BTC, +8.80%) rose to $15,017.05 at 10:50 a.m. ET (15:50 UTC) on Thursday, its highest level since January 2018.
- The price gains happened as global equities rally. European stock indexes are up around 1% on the day and U.S. stock indexes such as the S&P 500 are up over 2%.
- The cryptocurrency is now up 7.8% over the past 24 hours and over 108% on a year-to-date basis, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index.
- Amid the price rally, the number of “accumulation addresses” has risen to a record high of 519,228, according to data source Glassnode.
- The metric has risen by 3% in the past four weeks alongside bitcoin’s rally from $10,500 to $15,000. “It shows retail flow … investors accumulating amid the price rally,” Denis Vinokourov, head of research at the London-based prime brokerage Bequant told CoinDesk in a Telegram chat.
- Also, accumulation addresses are up over 9% in 2020, meaning investors have been accumulating coins throughout the year, possibly creating upward pressure on prices.
- Notably, the number of bitcoins locked in accumulation addresses has gone up 20% to 2,818,447 BTC this year.
- Accumulation addresses are those that have at least two incoming “non-dust” transfers (representing minuscule amounts of bitcoin) and have never spent funds. The metric does not include addresses belonging to miners and exchanges and excludes addresses active more than seven years ago to adjust for lost coins.
- In a sign of confidence in the cryptocurrency’s long-term prospects, investors accumulated coins during the March crash and also during the price drop in September. On both occasions, the price dip was short-lived.
- The recent rise in both accumulation addresses and prices indicates the market participants are not worried about a chart-driven sell-off and foresee a continued rise in prices.
- Bitcoin’s 14-day relative strength index (RSI) has been indicating overbought conditions since Oct. 20, when bitcoin was trading near $11,700. So far, the technical pullback has remained elusive.