Coinbase responds to its controversial acquisition of blockchain intelligence platform Neutrino | MyEtherWallet COO: We won’t just be a wallet in the future

Bitcoin $3,862                   Ethereum $137.57 
Crypto Mkt Cap $130B             BTC Dominance 52.00%  

The Block is transitioning to a new email platform. Be sure to add us to your contacts to prevent our newsletters from being sent to your spam folder!

“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.

The firm earlier this month snapped up Neutrino, an Italy-based company founded in 2016 led by Giancarlo Russo, Marco Valleri, and Alberto Ornaghi

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.”

Read More on The Block (2 Minutes)

Around The Block

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

Bitcoin trader tortured by a group of robbers

Three assailants attacked a bitcoin trader Tjeerd H. at his home in the Netherlands, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports. The attack took place late in the evening, on Feb. 10. A group of robbers posing as the police—wearing balaclavas and police-issued bulletproof vests—entered the trader’s home and threatened H. with a gun; when that proved futile, they tortured him with a drill and fled the scene an hour later. — More

Lending fintech SoFi partners with Coinbase to launch crypto trading — More

Survey says nearly half of alternative investors perceive cryptocurrencies as an asset bubble; most prioritise investing in innovation — More

Swiss bank Julius Baer to enter a partnership with SEBA; plans to offer digital assets — More

Accenture announces a blockchain app which lets consumers track and tip sustainably sourced products — More

SoftBank and TBCASoft team up to work on a blockchain-based identification solution — More

OKEx increases leverage to 5x — More

India’s Supreme Court gives the government 4 weeks to come up with crypto policy — More