Crypto exchange Coinbase says it 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 2022 and Q3 2023.
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 in 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.
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 alleging the sale of unregistered securities. It contested the SEC’s authority in the case in a court filing in October.
Coinbase is proud to present our fifth annual Transparency Report. By openly sharing this information on government data requests, we reaffirm our commitment to earning the trust of our customers, partners, and the communities we serve. 1/3 https://t.co/xjntkVPIqd
— paulgrewal.eth (@iampaulgrewal) November 30, 2023
Coinbase is active in over 100 countries. In September, it 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.
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