Coinbase reports a sharp rise in crypto inquiries from law enforcement

Law enforcement and government agencies are increasingly interested in crypto users' financial records. Coinbase has just reported a sharp spike in data requests from institutions worldwide.

Crypto law enforcement

Crypto-related requests from law enforcement and government agencies have more than doubled year-on-year, according to the latest Coinbase's "Transparency Report 2022". The total number of inquiries received by the company this year surged to 12,320 from the last year's 5,562 (however, the latter number covers only the period of nine months of 2021 included in the report).

Nearly half of the requests came from the United States (4736), with the United Kingdom (1740) ranking second and Germany (1658) third. 57% of the inquiries were submitted by institutions from outside the U.S. The number of requests from the following six countries jumped by over 100%: Spain (+940%), Belgium (+400%), Italy (+281%), Netherlands (+163%), Austria (+141%), and Ireland (+118%).

Coinbase report

The huge majority of global inquiries concerned criminal matters. Only 4.7% were related to civil or administrative issues. Similar proportions were observed for the U.S., where 55.6% of requests were related to federal and 33.7% to state and local criminal affairs, with less than 11% concerning civil matters.

Coinbase statistics

Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges worldwide, currently serving over 108 million customers. The platform regularly receives inquiries from government and law enforcement institutions regarding customer account details and users' financial data. Requests commonly include subpoenas, court orders, and search warrants. Coinbase, like any centralized crypto exchange, has a legal obligation to respond and provide authorities with relevant information.

Read also: Tether, Bitfinex legally ordered to disclose financial records

The company claims it's trying to narrow down general inquiries and provide only adequate data requested for on well-grounded premises, while rejecting poorly substantiated submissions. It also aims "to provide anonymized or aggregated data instead of providing individual customer information."