Coinbase Pushes Out Ex-Hacking Team Employees Following Uproar

Coinbase is parting ways with Neutrino employees who worked at Hacking Team following a customer backlash.

AccessTimeIconMar 5, 2019 at 2:14 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:57 a.m. UTC
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Coinbase is parting ways with several employees from Neutrino following widespread criticism over the crypto exchange's acquisition of the blockchain analytics firm.

CEO Brian Armstrong announced in a blog post on Monday that Coinbase and Neutrino have decided they will let go Neutrino employees who previously worked for Hacking Team, whether or not they still have any current affiliation with that company.

It's unclear exactly how many of Neutrino's employees had worked for Hacking Team, except for the three senior executives listed on the blockchain-sleuthing startup's website: CEO Giancarlo Russo, CTO Alberto Ornaghi, and CRO Marco Valleri.

The announcement came after widespread criticism of Coinbase's decision to buy Neutrino, which was revealed on Feb. 19.

Since then, a campaign encouraging Coinbase users to delete their accounts has been raging on Twitter due to the fact that Neutrino's top management had led projects for Hacking Team, a startup that aided governments known for human rights abuses.

Armstrong said in the post on Monday: "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."

As a solution, he concluded:

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

Brian Amstrong image via CoinDesk archive.

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