Coinbase has seen information requests from law enforcement surge over the past year, the cryptocurrency exchange reported in its latest transparency report. The vast majority of the inquiries came from the United States and were tied to criminal investigations.
Coinbase’s new transparency report covers the last four quarters ending with September. In that time, the exchange received 12,320 information requests from law enforcement, an increase of about 66%. The United States accounted for 5,304, or 43%, of those requests. The United Kingdom, Germany and Spain produced between 1,000 and 2,000 requests apiece. Those four countries accounted for 80% of requests, while 57 other countries also made requests.
The 1,304 requests from Spain represent an increase of 940%. It was one of six countries that had more than doubled their inquiries in the last year. Twenty-one countries sent requests for the first time during the reporting period, including the Czech Republic, which sent 104 of them.
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According to the report, which was attributed to chief legal officer Paul Grewal, Coinbase may challenge or ask agencies to narrow their requests, as decided by their team of lawyers. The exchange does not provide law enforcement with direct access to information, but:
“We also aim to provide anonymized or aggregated data that aids law enforcement and government agencies with their work, where it is possible to do so,” the report added.
Coinbase is proud to publish its fourth transparency report summarizing data requests for customer information we received from government agencies and law enforcement during the previous year. ⬇️ https://t.co/PGQ0gZ8qE5— paulgrewal.eth (@iampaulgrewal) December 12, 2022
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in an interview earlier in December that the exchange’s trading revenue fell by about half over the past year. Coinbase has 108 million customers worldwide.