Coinbase: Former Hacking Team Employees To Leave


Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has announced that the firm will part ways with Neutrino employees who worked for or have links to detested software firm Hacking Team.

In a blog post published on Monday, Armstrong said that Coinbase and Neutrino had agreed that the latter’s employees with any ties to the Hacking Team platform will now “transition” out and not proceed to join Coinbase’s team in London.

Coinbase acquired Neutrino, a blockchain analytics startup, last month. At the time, the U.S.-based crypto exchange noted that it would use the Italy-based startup’s latest technology to protect its users and improve services.

However, uproar and widespread criticism followed the acquisition, with many questioning Coinbase’s commitment to its goals for an open financial system.

Much of the anger arose primarily from the fact that Neutrino founders were the same fellows behind controversial spyware firm Hacking Team, whose surveillance technology was used by governments around the world known to have poor human rights records.

The dissatisfaction with Coinbase’s move to acquire a firm whose top leaders had reputational issues saw a campaign launched on Twitter asking the exchange’s users to express their anger by deleting their accounts.

Now according to the blog post, the staff at Neutrino deemed to have an affiliation (past or present) with Hacking Team, will leave.

It’s not immediately clear what percentage or number of people will actually be let go, although the recent outcry has tended to focus on three senior execs at the firm: the CEO Giancarlo Russo, Alberto Ornaghi(CTO), and Marco Valleri (CRO).

The Coinbase CEO acknowledged in the blog post that the firm’s due diligence process had had gaps, adding that a lot more focus had been on Neutrino’s “technology and security.

He said that as a result, they failed to “properly evaluate everything,” especially considering the crypto company’s mission and values.

Armstrong added that bitcoin or crypto, in general, is more “about the rights of the individual and the technological protection of civil liberties,” and conceded that the crypto exchange did not make “the right tradeoff” when it hammered the deal.

The events that followed, therefore, necessitated an action to remedy that. According to the exec, this would “fix” the misstep and allow the platform to find other ways to provide services to its customers within the law.

Those to transition out include those that might have “no current affiliation with Hacking Team,” he said, before adding:

“This was not an easy decision, but their prior work does present a conflict with our mission.”

Suggested read: check out our latest update on the next Coinbase listing

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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