Since the addition of Coinbase Analytics to the Coinbase’s offerings, controversies have risen against the development, especially about whether the company will not go-ahead to sell private user information to government agencies.
The controversy heightened when reports confirmed that Coinbase Analytics would license its software to government agencies like the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Reveal Service (IRS) for blockchain analysis.
However, in What Bitcoin Did Podcast with Peter McCormack today, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong answered questions regarding a company statement that Coinbase Analytics “data is fully sourced from online, publicly available data, and does not include any personally identifiable information for anyone, regardless of whether or not they use Coinbase.”
The Coinbase CEO, in response, stated the Coinbase Analytics data code is open for any public scrutiny and refuted claims laid against them on giving out confidential user data.
When quizzed by Peter McCormack if he would allow external people [perhaps independent bitcoin developers] to audit the Coinbase Analytics code, to verify his statement, Armstrong said,
I wouldn’t be opposed to it (having the code audited). We have so many audits happening anyway and I’m happy to have another one. I don’t know what kind of firm would do that.”
It is known that Coinbase had agreed to be paid an amount in the range of $10,000 to $250,000 for the license agreement with the U.S government agencies.
When asked why he would accept such a small amount compared to the service rendered (giving out user data), which is a big deal as he a big supporter of privacy, Armstrong said had Coinbase thought about offering the services for free which would be the right thing to do morally. Still, the fact that the government wouldn’t allow that, meant that Coinbase had to settle for that amount.
He also added, “The main thing is that it’s not lubricating anything in my mind because they have many options of where to get that information. There are three or four major blockchain analytics companies. They can even just if they really wanted to build it themselves, it’s publicly available data […], So they’re going to do it one way or another.”
Lastly, the Coinbase CEO suggested that blockchain analytics service also serves their clients’ interests since the service allows for a good relationship between the regulators and Coinbase. This good relationship will reduce the possibility of these regulators analyzing specific customer data.
“If we just kind of like tell them, ‘hey, you know, F*** off’ like we don’t want to help you and we’re just going to develop a kind of hostile relationship with them where they’re just going to request even more customer data from us,” he added.
Irrespective of the controversies surrounding Coinbase, the company is making good progress. For instance, Coinbase is also rumored to be readying a stock exchange listing next year that would raise the company’s valuation from the current $8.1 billion figure.