Coinbase responds to its controversial acquisition of blockchain intelligence platform Neutrino | MyEtherWallet COO: We won’t just be a wallet in the future
|Feb 26, 2019|
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“Our target audience wants to see what the price of cryptocurrency is, and to buy it. They have a desire to do that and in many cases they already are." —Anthony Noto, CEO SoFi
The Big Block
Coinbase, one of the largest crypto firms, is speaking out about the fiery debate it ignited over a recent acquisition.
Prior to founding Neutrino, CRO Marco Valleri and CTO Alberto Ornaghi were executives of Hacking Team, an intelligence firm which sold spyware tools to government agencies worldwide. Giancarlo Russo, Neutrino’s CEO, was Hacking Team’s COO. Herein lies the controversy. As details about Neutrino’s history flooded Twitter, market participants criticized the exchange, including The Block analyst Matteo Leibowitz, who questioned whether Hacking Team’s history of consistently facilitating human rights abuses taint Coinbase’s claims of democratization and democratizing cryptocurrency. Now, Coinbase has addressed those questions.
In a statement sent to The Block, Coinbase states that it is “aware that Neutrino’s co-founders previously worked at Hacking Team, which we reviewed as part of our security, technical, and hiring diligence,” adding that “Coinbase does not condone nor will it defend the actions of Hacking Team,” but “it was important for Coinbase to bring this function in-house to fully control and protect our customers’ data and Neutrino’s technology was the best we encountered in the space to achieve this goal.”
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MyEtherWallet COO: We won’t just be a wallet in the future
The digital wallet space has received considerable press in the last month as the likes of Samsung revealed plans for a new phone complete with private key storage. The landscape is diversifying, and competition from non-crypto specific firms is on the horizon.
In response, MyEtherWallet, one of the most widely used Ethereum-based wallets, has told The Block that it will need to stretch beyond its namesake and diversify its business model.
“Being just a [online] wallet isn’t going to be enough”, MEW COO Brian Norton said in an interview earlier this month following its V5 platform-redesign. — More
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