Isaiah Jackson, the author of “Bitcoin and Black America,” recently issued a warning to Black people about the crypto tech company Coinbase.
“Idc if I have to debate 1 Million black people You niggas are going to learn: 1. Delete Coinbase 2. Stay away from XRP 3. DCA Bitcoin,” Jackson tweeted on Dec. 30.
Jackson listed his reasons, among them, bad customer service and the special deal with the Feds.
Of course, the statement sparked a discussion on Twitter.
One tweeter responded, “Finally!!! Someone said it !!!…….it’s so annoying having to argue with black folks about Coinbase….don’t understand why a lot of black folks won’t do deep research and get the best platforms/methods.”
Could Jackson be right? There are a lot of special Coinbase deals with the government. According to publicly available documents, the cryptocurrency exchange giant recently initiated procurement deals with a number of U.S. agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a cryptocurrency investigations tool called “Coinbase Analytics,” CoinDesk reported.
Coinbase isn’t the only digital currency exchange company looking to make deals with the government. “Coinbase joins a crowded field of cryptocurrency analytics companies – Chainalysis, Elliptic, CipherTrace and others – vying for a piece of the federal pie,” CoinDesk reported. “Agencies from all corners of the U.S government regularly contract with crypto intel firms, inking deals for their tracing software worth millions, and sometimes stretching years.”
Now that Coinbase is working closely with various government agencies, people have privacy concerns. Then there’s also the issue of the company’s race problem.
The country’s fast-growing cryptocurrency startup, Coinbase has recently come under attack from employees who said they were being treated unfairly because of their race.
“While management at the company has argued that the complaints were limited to a handful of employees, Coinbase’s own compensation data suggests that inequitable treatment of women and Black workers went far beyond a few disgruntled workers,” Sun Sentinel reported.
Data obtained by The New York Times revealed that 16 salaried Black people surveyed were paid $11,500, or 7 percent, less than all other non-Black employees in similar jobs.
In addition to wage disparities, Black employees were mainly employed in lower-paying jobs at the company.
Numerous Black employees at Coinbase publicly complained about the discrimination they faced at the company.
Coinbase management claimed it was working on its diversity issue, but the company’s diversity has not changed much since 2018, the Times reported. According to the company’s own internal diversity report in late 2019, the percentage of Black employees — 3 percent — at Coinbase was roughly the same as in 2018.
There are other concerns with San Francisco-based Coinbase. As the company grows it has been experiencing glitches.
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In October, Coinbase customers were locked out of the bitcoin boom. The company froze some accounts for weeks without any explanation to its customers. This left some unable to access their money for more than a month. Some found the freeze-out suspect.
“It came at a time when bitcoin, the world’s best-known cryptocurrency, hit a high of more than $19,700 a coin and investors tried to get in on the action,” This Money reported.
Jackson said he believes in the financial power of bitcoin and Black America. In an interview with Forbes, he said, “Banks want control of money. People want bitcoin. If we have a circular economy of bitcoin, all banks have to do is accept bitcoin businesses as customers of their banks.
“JP Morgan is now accepting businesses that accept bitcoin and banks can get their profit that way. Banks would have to come up with a viable product that we would want. Banks need to go back and figure out why we need them and not vice-versa. In my opinion, it is not a knock on anybody’s business. Long-term, we are going to find a solution and the banks will be left behind. Bitcoin is the best solution.”