Coinbase, the Cryptocurrency exchange, was heavily criticized by the crypto community when the exchange acquired Neutrino – a company with close ties to the notorious Hacking Team. Neutrino is tied to a controversial software company called Hacking Team which allegedly sold spyware and other surveillance tools to governments, law enforcement agencies, and dictator regimes.
Cryptocurrency was built on the idea of decentralization which involves taking power away from centralized government, and providing privacy to citizens. The Neutrino Hacking Team’s work goes against these values which crypto community holds dear. And that is why the acquisition calls into question Coinbase’s integrity and commitment towards these beliefs.
The crypto community had started a #DeleteCoinbase campaign asking people to boycott the company. Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver, however, urged his followers online not to delete coinbase.
Roger Ver, often referred to as the Bitcoin Jesus, defended Coinbase claiming that not many companies have done as much as Coinbase, for the crypto community. Tweeting, his support, he said: “Coinbase has done more to drive cryptocurrency adoption than just about any other company. We should be grateful despite a few poor decisions along the way.”
Though opinion of Ver holds weight, he has also defended now defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox, which was among the first exchanges to bring Bitcoin to the masses. Ver had made a video claiming that the exchange was solvent. Mt. Gox eventually collapsed just months after the video was made. The whole affair had cost dearly for many investors who believed him.
Few experts say that Ver’s defense of Coinbase could be an omen. Coinbase could suffer from the same fate as Mt. Gox.
Coinbase claimed that in making the decision to purchase Neutrino, the team had focused on the company’s technological clout, and failed to investigate the company’s team and their past indiscretions properly. In a blog post, the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase Brian Armstrong said that they have let go of the members previously associated with the Hacking Team.
Following the apology, few important people within the cryptocurrency community, are now telling users and investors to forgive the exchange, since they have owned up their mistake and quickly made amendments.
“Startups are not about never making mistakes but learning and correcting faster than everyone else,” said one of the prominent figures in the industry.