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Coinbase Lets Go of Ex-Hacking Team Workers

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong made an announcement on Monday about the removal from Coinbase of all those who previously did work at the Hacking Team. They will certainly get pushed out of Coinbase. Armstrong is talking about employees from the blockchain analytics firm, Neutrino, who worked for the Hacking Team. They worked for an IT startup, and some of them are currently affiliated with this startup.

Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong

However, on Feb. 19, it was revealed that so many netizens criticized Coinbase for deciding to buy Neutrino. After the revelation, the online battle spread like wildfire especially around Twitter, where it first started. The news spread uncontrollably because Coinbase failed to monitor the matter. Coinbase did not realize that the main management of Neutrino had initiated the various Hacking Team projects. The Hacking Team was the startup that aided governments that supported human rights abuses.

Conflicting Ethos

Armstrong admitted that they had a gap in their diligence process. He further said that Coinbase was able to look hard at the Neutrino product, particularly its technology and security. However, the problem was that Coinbase did not give a proper evaluation of the Neutrino project. Thus, they were not able to assess it from the perspective of their company’s values and mission. Coinbase is a reputable company, and its connection with Neutrino partly tainted its image.

Although it was not an easy decision for Coinbase to push out the Neutrino employees, Armstrong admits that Neutrino’s previous work indeed conflicts with Coinbase’s goodwill and mission. The number of Neutrino employees that worked for the Hacking Team is currently unknown. The only known names are those of Neutrino’s top management – Alberto, Ornaghi, Marco Valleri, and Giancarlo Russo – CTO, CRO, and CEO of Neutrino respectively.

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