Bitcoin price LIVE: BTC hits $8.5k as Cambridge Analytica shelves 'dystopian' crypto plans
Good afternoon, and welcome to our rolling coverage of all things cryptocurrency, including price, regulation, innovation and financial crime.
BTC is currently priced at $8,299, a rise of $25 on the day so far.
The New York Times report that Cambridge Analytica, the controversial firm at the centre of the Facebook data revealtions, was planning to release a cryptocurrency in the coming months.
Brittany Kaiser, a former Cambridge Analytica employee, told the paper that the firm was hoping to raise money that would pay for the creation of a system to help people store and sell their online personal data to advertisers.
Ms Kaiser said: “Who knows more about the usage of personal data than Cambridge Analytica?
“So why not build a platform that reconstructs the way that works?”
Jill Carlson, a consultant who has worked with several blockchain companies, attended meetings with Cambridge Analytica and told the NYT:
“The way that Cambridge Analytica was talking about it, they were viewing it as a means of being able to basically inflict government control and private corporate control over individuals, which just takes the whole initial premise of this technology and turns it on its head in this very dystopian way.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Cambridge Analytica for comment.
Updates below throughout the day….
3.29pm – UPDATE – Bitcoin heist latest
The BBC reports on the man who escaped custody in Iceland and got on a passenger plane that was carrying the country’s prime minister says he “will be back soon”.
Sindri Thor Stefansson is accused of masterminding the theft of 600 computers to mine virtual currencies.
He wrote a letter to Iceland’s Frettabladid newspaper: “I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will, especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation.
“I’m not trying to say that it was the right decision to leave, I really regret it… I didn’t expect an international arrest warrant to be issued against me, as I was legally free to leave, and believed it was out of the question that I would be labelled a fugitive.
“I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”
2.34pm – UPDATE – BTC holds
Bitcoin has dipped a little to $8,501 but wallet-holders will be pleased with the steady progress.
11.44am – UPDATE – BTC hits $8.5k
Bitcoin is rising and the price briefly hit $8,500.
10.43am – UPDATE – Japan mulls exchange regs
The chief executive of online brokerage Monex Group Inc has said that Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges should be regulated more like banks as they hold investors’ assets while offering trading platforms.
Monex, Japan’s No.3 online brokerage, has just completed the 3.6 billion yen (£23.7 million) acquisition of Coincheck Inc – the exchange hit by a $530 million (£376.8 million) digital money heist – in the most significant move yet by a major financial company into Japan’s crypto sector.
Coincheck, like many of Japan’s other cryptocurrency exchanges, holds customers’ assets as well as “matching” those who want to trade digital money.
CEO Oki Matsumoto told Reuters in an interview: “Japan’s exchanges do both matching and custodial services – they’re close to a bank.
“To someone in the financial industry like myself, it’s common sense that regulations will get stricter.”
9.09am – UPDATE – BTC rising
Bitcoin’s gains on the day hit $65.
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