Coinbase tracks 6% rise in info requests from law, government agencies

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Cryp­to exchange Coin­base says it had record­ed a 6% rise in requests from law enforce­ment and gov­ern­ment agen­cies com­pared to 2022, with the num­ber of juris­dic­tions issu­ing requests jump­ing by 19, accord­ing to the exchange’s annu­al Trans­paren­cy Report.

Four coun­tries — the Unit­ed States, Ger­many, the Unit­ed King­dom, and Spain — made up near­ly three-quar­ters (73%) of the 13,079 agency requests to Coin­base for infor­ma­tion between Q4 202

The Unit­ed States made 5,686 requests to Coin­base, up from 5,304 last year, with 90.4% of those from crim­i­nal enforce­ment agen­cies. That num­ber dwarfed Germany’s 1,906 requests, which ranked sec­ond. Ger­many trad­ed places with the U.K. com­pared to last year, with the coun­try see­ing a small decline in requests over the year, down to 1,401 requests. This still far exceed­ed fourth-place Spain’s 732.

Mean­while, Aus­tralia sent 262% more requests to Coin­base com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, plac­ing it sixth place at 453. Ukraine’s requests more than tripled, and Portugal’s more than dou­bled, but those coun­tries still did not reg­is­ter in the top 15. 

Coun­tries that sent Coin­base more infor­ma­tion requests com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. Source: Coinbase

The report cov­ered the final quar­ter of 2022 and the first three of 2023. The requests Coin­base count­ed includ­ed sub­poe­nas, court orders, search war­rants and oth­er for­mal legal process­es. Coin­base pro­vid­ed “cus­tomer infor­ma­tion, such as name, recent login/logout IP address, and pay­ment infor­ma­tion” in response to requests, but may push back at times:

“Our oblig­a­tion is to respond to these requests if they are valid under finan­cial reg­u­la­tions and oth­er applic­a­ble laws. […] Under cer­tain cir­cum­stances, we may ask the gov­ern­ment or law enforce­ment agency to nar­row their request.”

Coin­base said in a blog post in Sep­tem­ber that 83% of “G20 mem­bers and major finan­cial hubs” have cryp­to reg­u­la­tions in force or passed leg­is­la­tion on cryp­to. These reg­u­la­tions include the Euro­pean Union’s Mar­kets in Cryp­to-Assets (MiCA) reg­u­la­tion, passed in April, and oth­er initiatives. 

Mean­while, enforce­ment agen­cies world­wide have begun to turn up the heat on cryp­to-relat­ed crime, with many beef­ing up their police units to trace poten­tial­ly illic­it cryp­to transactions. 

Relat­ed: Coin­base warns cus­tomers about sub­poe­na in appar­ent CFTC Bybit probe

Coin­base itself was the object of enforce­ment action in June of this year in the form of a suit by the U.S. Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion (SEC) alleg­ing the sale of unreg­is­tered secu­ri­ties. It con­test­ed the SEC’s author­i­ty in the case in a court fil­ing in October. 

Coin­base is active in over 100 coun­tries. In Sep­tem­ber, announced plans to focus on expan­sion in the Euro­pean Union, Unit­ed King­dom, Cana­da, Brazil, Sin­ga­pore and Aus­tralia. Those juris­dic­tions are “enact­ing clear rules,” the exchange said. 

Mag­a­zine: Can you trust cryp­to exchanges after the col­lapse of FTX?

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