Coinbase Received Over 1,800 Law Enforcement Information Requests in the First Half of 2020

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong (Credit: CoinDesk archives)

Coinbase received more than 1,800 request for information from law enforcement in the first half of 2020, largely in the form of subpoenas, the company announced Friday in a new transparency report.

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange released the information in its first-ever transparency report. Earlier this year, digital rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) requested the exchange be more transparent in how it handles authorities’ requests for users’ private financial data.

In addition to the criminal information requests, Coinbase received a number of civil or administrative requests from government agencies, for a total of over 1,900 requests.

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More than 1,100 of the requests came from agencies in the United States and 441 came from the United Kingdom. The majority of the requests came from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“As a financial institution with a duty to detect and prevent prohibited activity on its platform, we respect the legitimate interests of government authorities in pursuing bad actors who abuse others and our platform,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Yet we do not hesitate to push back where appropriate, even when it is inconvenient or costly to do so. That’s why each request we receive is handled by a team of experienced specialists in accordance with set procedures to confirm the validity of the request and narrow or object to requests that are overly broad.”

The move comes a month and a half after the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit organization, called on the leading U.S. exchange to be more transparent about how it handles private user financial data.

The EFF said Coinbase should detail the number of requests it receives as well as how it approaches these requests through the use of transparency reports.

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