Coinbase, a San Francisco, California-based crypto exchange platform, last month, as per a Coinbase blog published on Tuesday, Feb. 19th, 2019, announced acquisition of Neutrino, an Italian Milan-based blockchain intelligence platform. But the said acquisition deal has landed in turbulent waters, with reports of Neutrino’s senior management part of the Hacking Team project.
Coinbase, last month, acquired the Milan-based firm, Neutrino. Financial details of the acquisition deal were not disclosed. The Italian blockchain intelligence platform, which was founded in 2016, was to continue to operate as a standalone business, as per the announcement made in Feb. 2019.
However, Coinbase seems to regret the decision, as part of that deal Coinbase acquired the senior management staff who were part of the controversial Italian company – Hacking Team, renowned for selling offensive intrusion and surveillance capabilities to governments and law enforcement agencies.
But as per reports, the controversial Hacking Team was involved in selling software to certain repression reputed nations which includes Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sudan, with significant media reports emphasizing the company’s unusual public profile and track record. The company has also drawn criticism owing to its malware that keeps popping up on the computers of activists and journalists.
With all this circulating in the media, Brian Armstrong, CEO, Coinbase, said that based on examinations of all major players in blockchain analytics, the company chose to acquire Neutrino, because it had some of the best technology in the area. Continuing he said that there was a gap in Coinbase’s diligence process. While they duly looked at the technology and security of the Neutrino product, they did not do a proper evaluation of everything else from the perspective of Coinbase’s mission and values as a crypto company. However, after digging around over the past week, the company together with the Neutrino team have come to an agreement to transition out those who previously worked at the Hacking Team. Concluding Brian said that the decision to transition them out was not an easy one, but was taken as their prior work does present a conflict with Coinbase’ mission.