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Coinbase denies reports it sold customer data to US government

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has denied reports that the company sold customer information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

News that Coinbase had been providing geolocation data to ICE circulated online on Thursday. So Twitter users like Solobase Mac were shocked and pointed out that they "didn't sign up." They tweeted:

Why would they do that? So basically an invasion of privacy. Selling without our consent? They owe me 10 million for it. I don't want to do this. Is this true or not. Man, I have a lot going on in my head right now.

— Solobase Mac (@Blacktalizman) June 30, 2022

In a statement on Twitter, Coinbase clarified that the company "does not sell proprietary customer data." The exchange emphasized that its top priority is to provide platform users with a safe and secure experience.

Additionally, Coinbase explained that its Coinbase Tracer tool was created to comply with government requirements. Coinbase notes that this is used to investigate finance-related crimes such as terrorist financing and money laundering. According to the exchange, the information they provided to the government came only from public sources and not from Coinbase user data.

Back in September 2021, Coinbase signed an agreement with ICE to develop software for government agencies. The agreement forces the exchange to provide ICE with "application development software-as-a-service" for $1.36 million.

Despite the setbacks caused by the current cryptocurrency winter, Coinbase is still looking to expand its presence in Europe. The exchange has started hiring staff in Switzerland and has been granted permission to operate in countries including Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Last week, credit ratings firm Moody’s downgraded Coinbase’s Corporate Family Rating (CFR), the firm’s rating on Coinbase’s ability to pay its financial obligations. The rating agency also downgraded the exchange's secured senior unsecured notes, or debt not backed by any collateral assets.

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