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Ask HN: “Coinbase just sent you 0.002329 BTC”
57 points by jw2013 on May 5, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments
So I just got this email from Coinbase:


Hi xxx,

Coinbase just sent you 0.002329 BTC (worth $0.99 USD) using Coinbase.

Attached message:

Thank you for applying to YC in the most recent batch! We're sending $1 of bitcoin to everyone who applied. Click here to sign in and view this transaction

Kind regards,

The Coinbase Team


It is very nice that they plan to give $1 to every applicant of the most recent YC batch, but I certainly did not applied for YC. I just sent them an email asking them if it is a mistake. In the mean time, I am curious if anyone else here got a similar message. Did you actually have applied to YC's last batch?

P.S.: someone asks question about whether this email is from Coinbase.

screenshot of email content: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2qx0SXGdTVZNzBUWGYxVGZzaWs

transactional detail on Coinbase: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2qx0SXGdTVZci1KTUZMVVVsTFU

P.P.S.: aspHax0 below mentioned "I got this as well. However, I applied to be placed as an intern at a YC company over the summer.". I applied, too. That is certainly interesting.

Very sorry for the trouble on this, the blame goes squarely on me for this - those emails should never have gone out. YC had nothing to do with this, and it was completely our fault in using this private list for marketing purposes.

There is really no excuse other than poor judgement and rushed decisions. I apologize and we will make an effort to be much more careful about this in the future.

To give an opposing view, as an applicant, I personally didn't feel there was any privacy breach. Everyone that applied knew they were applying to the entire conglomerate of YC companies, so when one sends a nice email, thanking all the applicants, there really should be no privacy issue. If anything, sending a more official looking email, explaining what it was for instead of just a transaction could have preempted any concerns.

Isn't this kind of a privacy breach if it's true? Why does Coinbase get access to emails of people that have applied to YC? I'm not generally a data privacy zealot or anything, but that seems sketchy that YC would provide a batch list of emails to companies for what is essentially advertising/spam...

I'd accept every single spam email that includes $1 in it. Seems fair.

Coinbase is a YC company. One of the primary functions of YC is networking. In that light, it seems pretty reasonable to me for YC to put alumni in contact with each other. I don't know if this is the case, but there might even be a founders mailing list. That would not surprise me.

I understand a mailing list for alumni, but this is for applicants.

I have never applied to YC - but is there a checkbox that says "It's cool to share my email with the 500+ YC alum companies"?

I received this after applying for the internships for YC companies, so yeah, in a way, everyone that applied certainly did give YC and all their alumni their email address, seeing as that was part of the application.

Can you confirm the amount given was actually deposited in your SSL-verified coinbase.com account?

I know coinbase users have been the target of some phishing emails lately.

EDIT: Do not use the link given in the email.

EDIT 2: Now that we know it's not a fake, let's just hear what Coinbase or YC have to say.

I got this as well. However, I applied to be placed as an intern at a YC company over the summer.

Same here. I applied for the intern. I also got the email.

I received a similar email and have applied for an internship sometime during March. YC did mention they received over 1600 applications for it.

Pretty cool gesture.

Though, I think you are slightly luckier than I am because I received 0.002315 BTC :P

Allowing their applicant list to be used for unsolicited marketing seems out of character for YC.

Has either party confirmed this? I'm skeptical.

Yeah I got the email as well... And it's not spam it's legit because I opened and it actually got the balance... Equivalent to $1... I had applied for both internship as well as YC so can't comment at to which one triggered it but the mail mentions the application and not internship..

Probably spam/phishing. When in doubt, look at the full smtp headers (or at least post them so that we can look at them).


I applied to YC in the most recent batch and I haven't received anything from Coinbase

Are you sure this email was from Coinbase? Have you actually received the BTC? Is this post meta-spam? b^)


spam about spam.

yo dawg, we heard you like...

I received this email today too, I applied for the summer internship.

It has probably been given to the guys that have applied for the internship earlier this March (at least that't when I gave that email address to YC)

You can try using your bitcoins at http://www.bitoomba.com!

/u/chosen you appear to be hellbanned.

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