Coinbase crypto exchange has been making it to the headlines quite frequently these recent days. The analytics programme of the company, called Coinbase Tracer, is now under the public eye for its alleged plans of selling sensitive user data to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) in the US. These details include transaction history and geolocation details of crypto users. For now, a Coinbase spokesperson has denied ‘speculations’ that the company was selling any user data to the US government.
“All Coinbase Tracer features use data that is fully sourced from online, publicly available data, and do not include any personally identifiable information for anyone, or any proprietary Coinbase user data,” a Coindesk report quoted the spokesperson as saying.
A contract between the ICE and Coinbase surfaced on the Web after Tech Inquiry watchdog group fished out the document, levying data-selling speculations on Coinbase.
As per the Coindesk report, Coinbase and the US government have collaborated on similar contracts previously as well. The US authorities have reportedly sourced licences for Coinbase’s analytics software also last year.
In 2019, the crypto exchange had acquired blockchain intelligence firm Neutrino. This is from where Coinbase Tracer had emerged, initially named Coinbase Analytics. Interestingly, the executive team of Neutrino is known to have been associated with a start-up that sold spyware to many governments, including Saudi Arabia.
Coinbase’s name in an alleged data-selling plan comes at a time when the crypto exchange is eyeing European nations for operational expansion.
The Nasdaq-listed company, currently registered in the UK, Germany, and Ireland is reportedly looking to bag licences in Italy, Spain, France, and the Netherlands among other nations.
The crypto exchange, earlier this month, laid off 18 percent of its workforce, leaving 1,000 people in the crypto sector jobless amid recession fears.
Despite registering its name in the Fortune 500 list as the first crypto firm to make it there, Coinbase reported a 44 percent loss in trading values.
In the first quarter of 2021, the crypto exchange said its trading volume generated $309 billion (roughly Rs. 23,86,484 crore). The figure is significantly lesser than the trading volume of $547 billion (roughly Rs. 42,23,250 crore) that Coinbase had reported in the fourth quarter of 2021.