Crypto Influencer Cobie Disappointed by Coinbase Investigation & FBI Arrests

Updated by Ryan James
In Brief
  • Crypto influencer Cobie was disappointed by a recent investigation which resulted in the arrest of three people.
  • The arrest of a Coinbase employee and his partners is the first for cryptocurrency front-running.
  • Cobie believes the bigger problem lies at an institutional level, describing the arrests as “collateral damage.”
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Cobie has said “I don’t feel great about that,” after his tweet led to the arrest of a Coinbase employee and his two associates last week for the crime of insider trading.

The popular crypto influencer stated on Wednesday that he believes that the FBI arrest was something more akin to collateral damage and that Coinbase as an institution should bear more responsibility.

Community investigators

Last week three people were charged in the first-ever insider trading scheme involving cryptocurrency markets. Coinbase employee Ishan Wahi, his brother Nikhil Wahi and friend Sameer Ramani, were all charged with wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ press release makes clear that the investigation was precipitated by a Cobie tweet on April 12: “Found an ETH address that bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of tokens exclusively featured in the Coinbase Asset Listing post about 24 hours before it was published.”

Appearing on the Coffeezilla YouTube channel on Wednesday, Cobie was asked how he felt about the case. The influencer was quick to express his disappointment.

“I don’t feel great about that because the person I was criticizing is not the person that got arrested, the person that got arrested seems like collateral damage,” said Cobie. “I was criticizing the institution that the person that got arrested worked for.”

Cobie went on to explain his own perspective on Coinbase and why he hasn’t been impressed with the exchange during the recent bull cycle.

“Originally they only listed Bitcoin and they had this policy that they were only going to list the best of the best,” explained Cobie. “And then, as time passed and we got to the last couple of years and meme stocks became a thing, and obviously [Coinbase] went public, they started losing market share. So they changed their policy and started listing like, real, real, real garbage, but at the same time they started having a lot of issues around people buying the garbage they were listing beforehand.”

Talking a good game

In the interview with Coffeezilla, Cobie points out that Coinbase talked a good game when it came to dealing with illegality. A series of blogs in April dealt with the subjects of transparency and their listing process, and despite this, the problem persisted.

“Then they published this blogpost about how they’re going to change all their listing processes so that this stuff cannot happen in the future, and how they will get better controls around it, and the very next listing everything got front-run again,” said Cobie.

Despite Cobie’s exasperation, the fact remains that at least one Coinbase employee is now facing charges. That could ultimately prove a useful deterrent to like-minded people who might try to pull similar schemes in the future. For those seeking greater fairness in crypto trading that in itself is a good result.

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