Coinbase users, through the #DeleteCoinbase campaign, have forced the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the United States to reconsider its relationship with Neutrino, a firm specializing in blockchain analysis tools.
The exchange’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, said that the firm’s members who are known to have worked with the company developing spyware tools, Hacking Team, will have to leave.
Armstrong noted that they had worked with several other blockchain analytics firms that did not offer a comprehensive solution. To help meet their requirements they “needed to bring this capability in house.”
According to the Coinbase CEO:
[They] found that Neutrino had some of the best technology in this area, and decided to acquire them. However, we had a gap in our diligence process. While we looked hard at the technology and security of the Neutrino product, we did not properly evaluate everything from the perspective of our mission and values as a crypto company.
Concerning the Neutrino team members connected with Hacking Team, Brian noted:
Those who previously worked at hacking Team will transition out of Coinbase This was not an easy decision, but their prior work does present a conflict of interest with our mission.
The actual number of individuals on Neutrino’s team who worked at Hacking Team is not clear since only Marco Valleri (CRO), Alberto Ornaghi (CTO), and Giancarlo Russo (CEO) are publicly known to have been affiliated with Hacking Team.
The exchange’s decision came after Coinbase users took to Twitter to protest the acquisition of the blockchain analytics firm. In the campaign, Coinbase users expressed their dissatisfaction by deleting their accounts on the exchange and urging others to do so.
Coinbase users were protesting against Neutrino since its top team members were involved with Hacking Team which developed surveillance tools that were used by governments known to suppress human rights.
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