What Coinbase’s Partnership With ICE Says About Bitcoin Surveillance Today

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This is an opinion editorial by Justin Ehrenhofer, the vice president of operations and multi-coin Cake Wallet, a Bitcoin privacy educator and a moderator of the r/CryptoCurrency subreddit.

Coinbase recently came under fire after a Freedom Of Information Act request from Tech Inquiry revealed details of its contract to provide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with access to its blockchain analysis tool Coinbase Tracer.

Coinbase agreed to provide ICE with surveillance data on 12 blockchains (including Bitcoin’s). Among other tools, ICE gained access to Coinbase’s “multi-hop analysis,” “Lightning network investigation,” “historical geo tracking data” and “transaction demixing and shielded transaction analysis.” You can see a summary of the scope in this screenshot obtained by Tech Inquiry:


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