US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase may have listened after all to the agitations of its user base regarding its acquisition of Neutrino. It is to discontinue the relationship with members of the Neutrino team who previously worked with the Hacking Team since their prior work conflicts with their current mission.
Yesterday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong explained in a blog post that the decision was “living up to the exchange’s values”, after falling short of its due diligence. In what appears to be a veiled apology, he said:
“We had a gap in our diligence process. While we looked hard at the technology and security of the Neutrino product, we did not properly evaluate everything from the perspective of our mission and values as a crypto company.”
The exchange has reconsidered its decision and together with the Neutrino team have agreed that “those who worked with the Hacking Team will transition out of Coinbase, despite not having a current affiliation with the Hacking Team”. It is not currently known exactly how many members of the Hacking Team were working for the Neutrino project, however, the executives of the project, Marco Valleri and Alberto Ornaghi, stood out.
Like most cryptocurrency platforms out there, decentralizing the financial system and placing end users in control of financials is a top priority. “[Coinbase’s] mission as a company is to create an open financial system for the world,” says Armstrong and according to him, to do this required the empowerment of many people to acquire cryptocurrency.
The CEO further explained that the ambition of connecting to the traditional financial system – as a part of the company’s mission to an open financial system, required compliance with existing financial laws and regulations as regarding know your customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) programs. And this he said, required blockchain analytics and that those of the Neutrino team were exceptional.
Earlier last week, the acquisition of Neutrino may have seemed to be an important milestone for the Coinbase team considering they were eventually going to need a blockchain analytics solution “in-house”.
However, their decision to have hurriedly acquired Neutrino analytics platform, while falling short of their due diligence in evaluating the past working experiences of the team members, soon turned ugly. Upon discovery of the historical background of the founders of Neutrino platform, Coinbase users protested against the acquisition in a #DeleteCoinbase hashtag movement that threatened to delete their accounts with the exchange.
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