The cryptocurrency service Coinbase recently acquired Neutrino, a forensics startup founded by cybermercenaries who were left unemployed by the collapse of the company Hacking Team, following a dump of internal documents that revealed the company's enthusiastic and highly profitable complicity in human rights abuses by the world's most torture- and murder-happy autocrats and dictators.
The move sparked a user rebellion, with the accompanying #DeleteCoinbase hashtag.
Now, after a few days of bad press and account cancellations, Coinbase has announced that the former cybermercenaries will "transition out" of the company. CEO Brian Armstrong blamed the acquisition on "gap in Coinbase's due diligence process."
“While we looked hard at the technology and security of the Neutrino product, we did not properly evaluate everything from the perspective of our mission and values as a crypto company,” Armstrong wrote. “We took some time to dig further into this over the past week, and together with the Neutrino team have come to an agreement: those who previously worked at Hacking Team (despite the fact that they have no current affiliation with Hacking Team), will transition out of Coinbase.”
It’s unclear if “transition out” really means “fired,” or what this means for Neutrino, which presumably just lost its entire C-suite. At the time of writing, Russo, Valleri, and Ornaghi are still listed as Neutrino’s executives on the company’s site. Coinbase spokespeople were not available to comment by publishing time.
Coinbase Says Ex-Hacking Team Members Will ‘Transition Out’ After Users Protest [Jordan Pearson/Motherboard]
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