Coinbase and XRP Come Off Week of Controversies
In the week since the Coinbase Pro announced it was adding XRP to its platform, controversy has surrounded both the exchange and the asset in question. Between criticisms about one of Coinbase’s acquisitions to questions about what role Ripple played it the platform listing XRP, both companies have found themselves on the defensive.
Starting with Coinbase, their largest current controversy actually revolves around their acquisition of Neutrino earlier this year. As Gizmodo reports the purchase raised some eyebrows as several members of Neutrino’s senior team were also associated with Hacking Team — a group that is alleged to have sold its services to oppressive governments in the past. It’s also interesting to note that Hacking Group reportedly sold tools to the U.S. DEA and FBI as well.
In response to concerns, Coinbase said this week that those who previously worked for Hacking Team would be leaving the company. Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong wrote in a blog post, “[W]e had a gap in our 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.” He added, “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.”
Meanwhile this week the team at Ripple has been answering to rumors that the company paid or compensated Coinbase to add XRP to the exchange. CoinTelegraph notes that, while Coinbase director of communications Elliott Suthers declined to comment publicly on the matter, Ripple’s head of markets Miguel Vias said, “Coinbase’s listing of XRP (also, not ‘our token’) was Coinbase’s independent decision – we did not give them anything to make it happen.” You’ll notice that Vias made a point of mention that XRP wasn’t the product of Ripple. However, that very topic has also been a source of controversy that relates to the debate of whether XRP is a security. To that point Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao actually defended XRP in a live stream this week, saying “I think people are aware that there is a lawsuit against XRP on whether they’re a security asset or not. Our judgment is they’re not, and until proven that they are, we listed them, and luckily we actually dragged other exchanges to list them. That’s a good thing.”
Surely none of these controversies have been great news for the world of cryptocurrency as it continues to fight for legitimacy in the public eye. That said it doesn’t seem as though either issue has really entered the mainstream this time around, as such ink is typically reserved for assets hacks and the like. Still here’s to hoping those involved will be able to learn lessons from these mini-scandals and keep moving the digital currency space forward.