As some of you freaks may know by now, Coinbase has been going through a bit of a PR debacle over the course of the last few weeks after the announcement of their acquisition of Neutrino, a chain analysis company with a few ex-Hacking Team members on board. For those of you who do not recall, the Hacking Team is notorious for their support of fascists regimes, helping them locate, spy on, and eventually silence dissidents. Not a terribly good look for Coinbase, considering they are supposed to be arbiters of Bitcoin, a protocol designed to work for the very dissidents the Hacking Team was targeting. If you're looking for a thorough analysis of the terrible things Hacking Team has done in the past, check out this thread from our friend Janine on the subject.

While this is just another incident in a long string of brutal PR blunders for Coinbase over the years, I am highlighting it today not to add fuel to the fire currently engulfing the aimless "crypto" exchange, but to highlight the fact that, as Bitcoiners, it is imperative that we heap warranted criticisms on the companies that account for a material amount of economic activity on the network. In reaction to the #DELETECOINBASE movement of Twitter that ensued after news of the Hacking Team acquisition, Brian Armstrong was forced to reevaluate and cut the ex-Hacking Team members loose, as the "success" of their resumes is anathema to the inherent principles of freedom and liberty embedded in Bitcoin. Principled humans who were driven to act and attempt to enact change by voicing their displeasure in a public forum like Twitter were successful in assuring that the companies they decide to interact with uphold their values.

While I still don't trust Coinbase as far as I can throw them, this particular example of reacting to public outcry is a good sign of the overall health of Bitcoin, whose Social Layer demands neverending vigilance against the gravitational pull of centralization. Don't EVER let someone tell you to take it easy on the companies with economic clout in Bitcoin, this mission is bigger than any one individual or company. Ideally, exchanges only serve as a temporary necessity as we transition to a closed loop system built on a Bitcoin economy. IMO their job is to provide the simplest way to acquire BTC and eventually send it to personal storage after having become educated about private key management. On top of this, they should be wise and efficient with their onchain transaction strategies as they have a material effect on the fee market.

Simply provide on/off ramps that spy as little as possible on their users, being responsible with their Bitcoin usage at scale, and aiding the world as we transition into an Information Age with a native sound digital currency.

The only way we can make this a reality is if we will it into existence. If we speak up and fight for what we know is right. Protect ya necks, freaks. Speak up.