Popular crypto exchange Coinbase acquired controversial surveillance firm Neutrino leading to a #DeleteCoinbase trend. The hire was justified by the exchange after it admitted that its previous analytics providers sold their user data.
A crypto trading platform which was trusted by many, Coinbase prompted many to delete their accounts after it bought blockchain analytics company Neutrino. Neutrino’s team is comprised of Hacking Team members, which allegedly sold spyware to oppressive governments around the world. Hacking Team was also responsible for sending human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor to prison for ten years. It is without surprise that the Coinbase’s community reacted as they did regarding the hire.
Adding to the wave of panic it stirred, Coinbase head of sales, Christine Sandler revealed in an interview with Cheddar that the previous company which was hired to monitor blockchain data had been leaking customer data.
“It was important for us to migrate away from our current providers. They were selling client data to outside sources and it was compelling for us to get control over that and have proprietary technology that we could leverage to keep the data safe and protect our clients.” said Sandler.
— geoff golberg (@geoffgolberg) February 27, 2019
She went on to say that Neutrino has the best talents and their skill would be used to keep “data safe and protect” clients. The company explained its reasoning behind this deal, which monetary value remains unrevealed:
“[This deal] will also help us bring more cryptocurrencies and features to more people while helping ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Neutrino’s technology is the best we’ve encountered in this space, and it will play an important role in legitimizing crypto, making it safer and more accessible for people all over the world.”
It is yet unknown which analytics provider Coinbase previously used, the gravity of the breach and how much data was leaked. But it is speculated that analytics platforms Chainalysis and Elliptic are possible candidates that have adopted this model.
Many are still speculating if the move to acquire Neutrino was a wise one on Coinbase’s part. The deal has prompted many to take to Twitter and start the #DeleteCoinbase movement, with partakers of this movement featuring the @BTC handle, Mr. Hodl, Udi Wertheimer, Tone Vays, as well as other important industry commentators