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.
Will be moving any remaining currency I still have on @coinbase to a different platform. This is unacceptable. HackingTeam has blood on their hands.
— Jeroen Baert (@jbaert) February 22, 2019
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.
Congrats to Coinbase on the acquisition of chain analysis startup Neutrino!
FYI, the CEO, Giancarlo Russo, was ex-COO of HackingTeam (https://t.co/qyQ6mLU8XE), who sold "offensive intrusion and surveillance capabilities to governments, law enforcement agencies and corporations." pic.twitter.com/VVza5AjIYa
— Arjun Balaji (@arjunblj) February 19, 2019
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).
Acquisition of #Neutrino, a security and surveillance platform, by #Coinbase causes problems as users worry about their own security and privacy. If you don’t like their practices, you should do business with someone else. There’s plenty of choice in the #crypto world.
— Weiss Ratings (@WeissRatings) February 28, 2019
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.
after all that happened I will no longer be Coinbase customer. @coinbase when will you take care of your customers?
We need security but you cooperate with the scammy project and propose to hold private keys on the cloud.
are you ok?
— Yohanes Uji (@Ujigesang) February 21, 2019
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.
I made excuses for @coinbase far longer than they deserved.
There are now plenty of alternatives, some have far better UX (@cash), and their partnering with Hacking Team makes it impossible for me to dismiss their obvious cowardice & lack of ethics. Long overdue #DeleteCoinbase pic.twitter.com/4nahCaQqCH
— Guy Swann ⚡ (@TheCryptoconomy) February 28, 2019