Industry enthusiasts may have recently noted a twitter campaign growing in strength – #deletecoinbase. For those unaware of why/where this started, read on as we take a brief look at the story behind the hashtag.
The event that kick-started the #deletecoinbase hashtag was when Coinbase Acquired Neutrino. The announcement of the acquisition took place on February 19th via the Coinbase Blog. While figures for the deal were not released, the motive behind the move was obvious – shore up the defenses to offer a safer trading environment. In the initial announcement it was stated,
“By analyzing data on public blockchains, Neutrino will help us prevent theft of funds from peoples’ accounts, investigate ransomware attacks, and identify bad actors.”
While on the surface the motive and acquisition may sound like a great plan, it wasn’t soon after the initial announcement that cracks began to show. It came to light that most of the C-level employees behind Neutrino were once part of a disliked company known as Hacking Team.
Due to the nature of Hacking Team, once clients of Coinbase put 2+2 together, anger replaced excitement towards the acquisition.
Hacking Team is the name of an Italian company that became well known due to their business practices. Specifically, they profited by selling surveillance technology to governments. This was done with the intention of spying on their citizens.
Many of those interested in cryptocurrencies, to begin with, are drawn in by the ideologies which accompany Bitcoin. These include financial freedom from governments, as well as privacy and equal opportunity for all. It should come as no surprise that when these same people found out about the origins of the Neutrino team, outrage ensued.
A Fitting Response
As the twitter campaign continues to grow, Coinbase has taken note, and turned to damage control. Each of the individuals associated with the hacking team are to be let go from their positions, and will not carry forth with a role in Coinbase.
In a statement detailing this decision, Brian Armstrong stated the following,
“…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. We took some time to dig further into this over the past week, and together with the Neutrino team have come to an agreement: those who previously worked at Hacking Team (despite the fact that they have no current affiliation with Hacking Team), will transition out of Coinbase.”
The Importance of Coinbase
Love them or hate them, Coinbase is pivotal to the continued development, and success, of the blockchain industry. They represent one of the largest, most well-known, and trusted companies in the sector.
No company is perfect, as made evident by the poor decision to onboard the Neutrino team to begin with. What is promising, is that Coinbase has shown a willingness to listen to their clients, and respond accordingly. Hopefully not only Coinbase, but each company involved with blockchain, learns from these events moving forward.