As the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, Coinbase has a wealth of data available to it related to national and international monetary exchanges. While the company maintains that its users’ privacy is still of the highest importance, for obvious reasons, financial data is of great interest to a variety of government bodies.
According to a document released through the Freedom of Information Act, in 2021 Coinbase engaged in a sale to U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) amounting to more than $1.5 million. The sale consisted of an analytics software license as well as an unspecified suite of software, and is believed to be connected to Coinbase’s Tracer intelligence-gathering tool.
In a statement, a spokesperson for ICE explained the nature of this deal with Coinbase. “The contract provides a tool that supplements an HSI capability to investigative traffickers of deadly opioids on the dark web and cyber criminals who seek to attack critical infrastructure.” Regarding possible privacy issues, the spokesperson explained, “This tool does not reveal any sensitive personally identifiable information, is only referenced in criminal investigations, and it is not utilized in civil immigration enforcement.