EFF Defends Ex-Kraken Employee’s Right to Post Anonymously About Company

According to the EFF’s court filing, the client left a review, praising aspects of life at the firm, but also saying they felt “a deep sense of trepidation much of the time.” Kraken had originally replied and thanked the reviewer, the EFF says, but later changed tack and “began targeting Doe and other former employees.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is defending a former Kraken employee embroiled in a lawsuit over an anonymous review of the crypto exchange on Glassdoor.

The EFF – a non-profit digital rights group – has taken up the cause of a John Doe defendant and is asking California’s Marin County Superior Court to quash a motion by Kraken to identify the individual who allegedly gave the exchange a poor review on the employer rating site.

According to the filing, the anonymous reviewer also checked boxes saying they would not recommend Payward, had a “neutral outlook” on the company and “disapproved of the CEO.”

The client had taken care not to disclose confidential information or defame the firm in the review, the EFF said.

In May 2019, Kraken filed a lawsuit against 10 anonymous reviewers, including the EFF client, alleging breach of severance contracts over the reviews and seeking to obtain identifying information. Kraken further emailed ex-employees “demanding that they delete any reviews that were in violation of the severance agreement,” said the EFF.

According to EFF staff attorney Aaron Mackey, the lawsuit is intended to “harass and silence” both current and former employees at Kraken who wish to talk publicly about their experiences at the firm.

“Kraken’s efforts to unmask and sue its former employees discourages everyone from talking about their work and demonstrates why California courts must robustly protect anonymous speakers’ First Amendment rights,” Mackey said.

The EFF’s client is said to have deleted their review despite feeling it did not break the severance agreement.

“In the cryptocurrency industry, security and reputation are paramount. Like its peer companies, Kraken uses confidentiality and severance agreements to protect the platform’s security and its reputation,” Jesse Powell, co-founder and CEO of Kraken, told CoinDesk in a statement.

“In those agreements, each side receives something. The former employee at issue here would like to benefit from the agreement without upholding his or her side of the bargain. We welcome employee feedback, but we won’t tolerate double-dealing,” Powell said.

ECB’s Lagarde: We Want to Develop Digital Currencies but Won’t Discourage Private Initiatives

The European Central Bank is eager to expand its role in developing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), but that doesn’t mean private enterprises can’t join the party, said President Christine Lagarde.

In an interview Wednesday with French business magazine, Challenges, Lagarde reiterated the ECB wants to play an active role in cryptocurrencies. As businesses and individuals make more cross-border payments round the clock, Lagarde said the bank would continue looking into “the feasibility and merits of a CBDC.”

Lagarde, who previously said the ECB should be “ahead of the curve” when it comes to CBDCs, added the bank does not want to stand in the way of cryptocurrencies created outside its sphere. “The prospect of central bank initiatives should neither discourage nor crowd out private market-led solutions for fast and efficient retail payments in the euro area,” she said.

CBDCs may have significant implications for the bloc’s financial sector and changes in monetary policy going forward, Lagarde said. The ECB formed a cryptocurrency task force last month that would work closely with eurozone central banks to understand the benefits and costs of a possible eurozone CBDC.

Global interest in CBDCs came soon after the unveiling of Facebook’s Libra in the summer. Although the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been working on its “digital yuan” for years, officials only started divulging information on it late last summer, reportedly concerned private initiatives could take market share before the government currency launched.

In addition, CBDCs may provide citizens with a means of exchange in the event “physical cash eventually declines,” possibly in tandem with private crypto initiatives.

Most central bankers have described the relationship between cryptocurrencies, CBDCs and fiat currencies as exclusive and adversarial. Outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said last year a multi-fiat-backed CBDC could well replace the U.S. dollar as the dominant global reserve currency. IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath argued cryptocurrencies, including CBDCs, lacked key infrastructure and global acceptance to successfully tackle the greenback.

Although Lagarde has said cryptocurrencies could address many of the problems with the legacy financial system, she said they might also present new risks to users. Last month, she expressed concern Facebook could use its digital platform to lock out rival stablecoin operators and thereby gain an unfair advantage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.