Business

Derek Tonin

Coinbase struggling to respond to #DeleteCoinbase campaign

Cancel culture has swung towards the cryptocurrency industry. Recently, social media has seen the #DeleteCoinbase hashtag pop up, referencing a movement of crypto investors who are encouraging others to stop using Coinbase for a recent controversy around the exchange’s acquisition of Neutrino, a data analysis firm that protects against fraud.

Neutrino have staff who used to be tied to the Hacking Team, a group that sold user data to governments, companies and law enforcement agencies.

This has outraged fiercely private crypto traders, many of whom want to keep their data as private as possible, and turn to cryptocurrency rather than traditional financial institutions for just that reason.

Attempting to address the controversy, Coinbase might have made things worse. They admitted to the previous background of some Neutrino staff, but defended their continued employment by admitting to their previous data analysis provider also sold information to third parties. Christine Sandler, Coinbase’s director of institutional sales, 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.”

That only escalated the drive behind #DeleteCoinbase, putting further pressure on the exchange. A survey tweeted by CoinDesk Markets on March 4 revealed a majority had either deleted, or were considering deleting, their Coinbase accounts.

Savvy crypto enthusiasts have started fighting back the tide however. One twitter user pointed out that despite privacy concerns, Coinbase remains the industry’s best engine towards driving adoption.

Responding once again to the controversy, Coinbase has now decided that Neutrino employees who previously worked for the Hacking Team will be forced out of the company. They wrote:

“We took some time to dig further into this over the past week, and together with the Neutrino team have come to an agreement: those who previously worked at Hacking Team (despite the fact that they have no current affiliation with Hacking Team), will transition out of Coinbase.”

This decision is fresh, so it will take time to discern if they have pleased the masses or if this is too little too late. Initial responses to their Twitter announcement of the decision is mixed, with a majority still criticizing their decision making, and a scant few thanking them for listening to public outcry.

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