Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges has recently been on the fiery end of a debate over its recent controversial acquisition of Neutrino, a startup which focused on blockchain analysis and used public blockchain data to trace cryptocurrency transactions.
Neutrino, an Italy-based company was founded in 2016 and is led by Giancarlo Russo, Marco Valleri and Alberto Ornaghi.
The controversy is taking place because of the involvement of Valleri and Ornaghi. Before the establishment of Neutrino, CRO Marco Valleri and CTO Alberto Ornaghi were executives of an intelligence firm, Hacking Team, which sold spyware tools to government agencies across the globe.
Hacking Team also traded the tools to repressive regimes, allegedly violating international controls on the use of such tools. Those regimes were, in turn, used to monitor and endanger journalists, activists, and political dissidents.
The takeover of Neutrino has flooded Twitter with its history, and various market participants have criticized the exchange for getting involved with the startup. Matteo Leibowitz, a crypto analyst for The Block, questioned Hacking Team’s history of facilitating human rights abuses, which is completely contradictory to Coinbase’s claims of maintaining a democratizing cryptocurrency exchange.
Kyle Torpey, a full-time crypto-writer, recently sent Coinbase a set of questions regarding their acquisition of the analytics firm Neutrino. According to Torpey, the exchange did not answer any question, but only released an official statement.
The statement said:
“We are aware that Neutrino’s co-founders previously worked at Hacking Team, which we reviewed as part of our security, technical, and hiring diligence. Coinbase does not condone nor will it defend the actions of Hacking Team. Increasingly, third-party blockchain analysis companies are requesting customer data from cryptocurrency companies that they serve.”
The statement further added:
“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.”
The statement has not convinced many cryptocurrency influencers. Some influencers have also urged users to withdraw their digital assets from Coinbase and use alternative exchanges, including Gemini or Bitstamp.
The history of Hacking Team’s work with government-affiliated sectors to use spyware tools and target journalists and protestors have earned the startup the label of a certified “Enemy of the Internet”. According to Reporters Without Borders, the software designed by Hacking Team has been used by governments “to capture the passwords of journalists and netizens” and “to commit violations of human rights and freedom of information”.
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Tether’s [USDT] market capitalization hits all-time high, Facebook in talks with Winklevoss twins, trading firms over new cryptocurrency and more
Crypto News – 25 May – Tether’s [USDT] market capitalization hits all-time high, Facebook in talks with Winklevoss twins, trading firms over new cryptocurrency and more
— AMBCrypto (@CryptoAmb) 25 May 2019
Daily Crypto News – May 25
1) Bitcoin Wallet receives part of 5,000 BTC: A recent Whale Alert highlighted a transaction on May 24, where a large sum of Bitcoin [BTC] exchanged hands between two anonymous wallets. According to the alert the transaction took place at 22:13:23 + 1 minutes and 5,000.00001092 BTC was transferred from an unknown wallet, with address 19SiCYaYKZh9A8HUjuh14eg5wtYzKxiFbB, to another unknown wallet with address 14GcjGjxwadzcpmq9EG3KUgTKATjurbnWt.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2VRQwb0
2) Bitwise Report 2.0: Bitcoin [BTC] futures continues growth: On a month-on-month basis, Bitcoin Futures saw a massive bump in April trading at an average of 10,000 contracts daily, peaking on April 4, with over 22,000 contracts traded. To put that number in perspective, in March 2019, the average contracts traded was less than 4,000. Despite the high standards set in April, the average daily contracts traded in May, with 25 days gone has exceeded 14,000 and still looks to grow, given the price performance of Bitcoin.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2W40sTR
3) Craig Wright on private keys: Craig S Wright has, for years, claimed he is the true creator of Bitcoin [BTC] without providing a shred of evidence to support the same. With the crypto-community levelling, Wright could prove his worth by sending BTC from Satoshi Nakamoto’s touted wallet containing around 980,000 BTCs, the BSV man in a twisted cause and effect situation, stated he will “sign” into his wallet only when he proves he is the creator.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2X6fdlw
4) Tether’s [USDT] market cap hits ATH: Tether and Bitfinex are being closely scrutinized now more than ever due to the NYAG’s lawsuit; however, the scrutiny doesn’t seem to have affected Tether as the market cap of USDT has increased by over $100 million in approximately 70 days.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2McaTjE
5) Tether volume shift: Another controversial topic in the cryptocurrency industry was the issue of fake transaction volumes on many of the popular cryptocurrency exchanges. The magnitude of the topic was so large that even Changpeng Zhao, the Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of Binance had raised red flags. This topic and Tether as a whole received another twist when Larry Cermack, the Director of Research at The Block, pointed out a few parameters when it came to the said volume.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2wmk4mJ
6) Bitfinex’s LEO tokens listed on Delta Exchange: Bitfinex’s Leo tokens faced quite a lot of criticism when they were announced, due to the missing $850 million funds from Bitfinex. The private investment round by Bitfinex also faced a lot of heat from the media. However, in a recent development, Leo tokens are being listed on various exchanges for trading.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2HUEnNB
7) Robinhood en-route a projected valuation of $7 billion: Robinhood, the California-based cryptocurrency exchange made headlines recently when a source close to the organization revealed that it was on the verge of closing their latest round of funding at a valuation of a whopping $7 billion – $8 billion. Sources even claimed that the current round of funding could act as a precursor to an even bigger round of funding, which would pit Robinhood with the bigwigs like Coinbase and Binance.
Read more at https://bit.ly/2W64KKj
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