The new Coinbase boycott movement #DeleteCoinbase is resounding across Twitter… More and more bitcoin users are closing their accounts to protest… Coinbase in not letting people delete their accounts.
Roots of the boycott:
In mid-February, Coinbase acquired Neutrino, a blockchain analytics startup, in order to offer more diverse crypto assets across borders. The problematic part of this acquisition is mainly Neutrino major members who are Giancarlo Russo (CEO), Alberto Ornaghi (CTO), and Marco Valleri (CRO). the latter previously spearheaded projects for the startup HackingTeam which sold spyware to different governments publically known for human rights abuses. As a result, users are upset with this new acquisition.
More about HackingTeam
Based in Milan, HackingTeam is an information technology company that sells offensive intrusion and surveillance capabilities to governments law enforcement agencies and even corporations. According to their website, its “Remote Control System” allow governments and corporations to monitor the communications of internet users by deciphering their encrypted files and emails, recording their Skype and other Voice over IP communication, and even activating microphones and cameras on target computers remotely.
HackingTean has been criticized for selling its products and services to governments with poor human rights records, including Sudan, Bahrain, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to enforcement agencies such that UAE intelligence, Information Network Security Agency, and Drug Enforcement Administration. A full list of HackingTeam’s customers was leaked in the 2015 breach. It showed 70 of its current customers, mostly military, police, federal and provincial governments and its revenues that exceeded 40 million Euros. In 2013, the nonprofit Reporters Without Borders even called Hacking Team one of the top five corporate “Enemies of the Internet”
This acquisition created a controversial conversation on social media which lead to a “boycott” that runs on Twitter with the hashtag “#DeleteCoinbase”.
"Internal emails prove the company had control over its customers’ surveillance infrastructure, tagging malware and servers."
Can't run fast enough? Sell your bitcoins on Coinbase, buy a jetpack and GET THE FUCK OUT OF THEREhttps://t.co/O2tJwWrYyp
— Francis Pouliot 🐂₿ (@francispouliot_) February 20, 2019
Many Twitter follower is against this acquisition deal. Eventually, many of them deleted their Coinbase accounts. Actually, such users are sharing snaps of their deleted accounts as proof of their anger towards Coinbase.
Not that I’m @coinbase’s biggest customer by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m done.
— Udi Wertheimer (@udiWertheimer) February 27, 2019
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) March 1, 2019
Coinbase Response and results
In a response to this debate, Coinbase reached out to the media via email and gave the key aspects that lead to this debate.
“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, 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.”
Even after this response, the trend did not stop. Nothing convinced the anger of Coinbase users. The Coinbase reaction for this seems weird. In fact, some users can’t delete their accounts. They claim that the company is now preventing them from closing down their accounts. In fact, error messages were shown when trying to delete the accounts. Furthermore, even after trying to get rid of their dust and reporting zero account balances, users are unable to close their accounts.
— Adam Moore (@AdamPaulMoore) March 1, 2019
Meanwhile, in a recent tweet published this Friday 1st March 2019, users reported the issue to Coinbase customer about the issue. The answer was puzzling. Many Twitter followers went to say, that perhaps the company is trying to suppress the number of closed accounts during this period of negative publicity.
24 hours have passed and I still cannot close my @coinbase account. You need an effing specialist to close a damn account in 5-7 business days or longer. Wow, unbelievable. #DeleteCoinbase pic.twitter.com/lfYySlRhbL
— Saifuddin Jalil (@SaifuddinJalil) March 1, 2019
To put in a nutshell, Coinbase recent acquisition seems to be the straw that broke the camel back. The company is now passing by a difficult period that doesn’t have any solution until now. This case appears similar to Facebook boycott (#DeleteFacebook) after Cambridge Analytica scandal.