Was CoinBase Acquisition of Neutrino Unethical? Lobbyist Calling for a Boycott


CoinBase, the $8 billion US-based virtual currency exchange, is entangled in a controversy. And it’s getting worse. Already, some disgruntled social media users are lobbying for a boycott. While there are some concerned users that will deactivate their accounts in response, it will be interesting to see attrition rates. Well, the blockchain community is angry because of CoinBase decision to acquire, Neutrino.

Neutrino is a Chainanalysis alternative and it is not because Neutrino is inept. Discontentment is around the composition of Neutrino.

The CoinBase—Neutrino Synergy

Made up with experts well versed in computer science and actively developing proprietary technologies that are useful in monitoring, tracking and analyzing cryptocurrency flows, their services are indispensable now that hackers are running free and devastating exchanges and wallets.

As a secure crypto-exchanges with no track record of been hacked, CoinBase is reliable and in the background, they may be wading off attacks in a daily basis. Therefore, the inclusion of Neutrino services, as they say, will “play an important role in legitimizing crypto making it safer and more accessible for people all over the world.”

On their part, Neutrino will continue to operate as a stand-alone company with bases in London and their primary task will be to “prevent theft of funds from peoples’ accounts, investigate ransomware attacks, and identify bad actors” helping the exchange bring “more cryptocurrencies and features to more people while helping ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.”

Neutrino Members are Ex-Hacking Team

It is increasingly becoming clear that Neutrino role will be pivotal for CoinBase and as enablers, creating this crypto-fiat and fiat-crypto rail, fortifying their ranks and acquiring the services of the best blockchain experts out there will be massive for their reputation as well as the security of user funds. But, Neutrino, as pointed out by Arjun Balaji—a Blockchain commentator, is headed by Giancarlo Russo and most of their team members have been accused of abetting oppression.

Russo was the chief operating officer of the notorious Hacking Team voted as one of the five leading corporates against internet freedom by the Reporters without Borders (RSF).

The group, though describing themselves as an Italian Vendor specialized in selling surveillance tools, were found to have sold these cyber weapons to oppressive regimes including Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan and Bahrain.

Even worse, a New York report says, one of their monitoring tools was used by the Saudi Enforcement Group accused of torturing, killing and dismemberment of the US journalist Jamal Khashoggi drawing global condemnation. That’s not all. Their tools, it is said, we used to monitor and arrest Ahmed Mansoor who is now serving a 10-year jail term in the UAE.

Therefore, while CoinBase drafted the services of Neutrino in good faith, it is the Hacking Team past activities that is clearly coming back to haunt them. Some blockchain users say Neutrino’s team members have blood in their hands and it was unethical of CoinBase to acquire the London-based start-up.