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Coinbase report shows dramatic increase in law enforcement enquiries worldwide

The crypto exchange says the overall number of enquiries is up 66%, with the United States producing the most by far; the U.S., and three European countries made 80% of all requests.

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 enquiries 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 o 940%. It was one of six countries that had more than doubled their enquiries 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:

“Coinbase may produce certain customer information, such as name, recent login/logout IP address, and payment information; this type of information may be subject to requests by government and law enforcement agencies when a customer uses one of our applications or our website, as described in our privacy policy.”

“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.

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