Coinbase, the popular US-based Cryptocurrency exchange, recently came under fire from the crypto community for hiring ex-members of the group The Hacking Team as part of Coinbase’s acquisition of the analytic company Neutrino. The push back from the community on Social Media under hashtags like #deletecoinbase or #boycottcoinbase have caused Coinbase to rethink its position and part ways with those ex-members of The Hacking Team.
So what does this mean?
The crypto community is very active and vocal on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Minds.com and on these platforms, the call to close user’s Coinbase accounts became louder and louder to the point where Coinbase could no longer ignore it.
As Cryptocurrency becomes more and more mainstream, an unfortunate side effect will be more companies looking to get an edge and having comprehensive analytics and tracking information can give this edge. The problem is that the community that grew up around Crypto, Bitcoin in particular, are not known to be fans of surveillance and tracking whether it be by government or private companies.
Even though this can be considered a win for the community, it should not be assumed this is the end of the conversation. What happened to Coinbase was the result of their attempting to be open with their community of users, which lead to an investigation by that community. In the future, it is safe to say that companies will be less transparent or outright lie about the level of surveillance or who they use or share our data with.
Healthy skepticism should always be kept when dealing with industry, especially industry that asks for our trust.