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Coinbase’s Neutrino acquisition draws flak, several users delete accounts

Mon, 04 Mar 2019, 11:00 am UTC

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s recent acquisition of blockchain analytics firm Neutrino has come under fire as some facts about the latter have come to light.

CoinDesk reported that some of the executives of Neutrino – CEO Giancarlo Russo, CTO Alberto Ornaghi, and CRO Marco Valleri – were previously involved in a startup called ‘Hacking Team,’ which was infamous for selling spyware to a number of governments known for human rights abuses.

Angry Coinbase users started circulating #deletecoinbase on Twitter, with many sharing screenshots of them closing their Coinbase accounts.

Bitcoin enthusiast Udi Wertheimer told Motherboard:

“I hope that this message makes Coinbase understand that a press release won't fix this. They need to disassociate themselves from Hacking Team if they have any hope of earning people's trust again. I don't know if this can happen, so the alternative is that people at least know about it and get to decide for themselves.”

Speaking to Cheddar, Christine Sandler, Coinbase’s head of sales, said that while the company was aware of the backgrounds of some of Neutrino’s executives, they acquired the latter as they had “some really industry leading and best-in-class technology.” Elaborating further, Sandler said:

“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."

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