Popular digital currency exchange Coinbase is in hot water after executives were accused of selling users’ private data to ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement).
Coinbase Accused of Selling Private Data
While specific data of customers is not being disclosed to the agency, Coinbase is allegedly providing it with a suite of features that can be used to track and trace crypto holders on its platform. The company also announced that it was looking to obtain licenses to expand its services in Europe.
Among the currency transactions ICE can use to trace people are bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether, a wildly popular stable currency. At the time of writing, Coinbase is denying the accusations, saying it has never disclosed anyone’s private information to third parties and that it takes the notion of customer privacy very seriously. In a statement, the enterprise explained:
We want to make this incredibly clear: Coinbase does not sell proprietary customer data. Our first concern has been and always will be providing the safest and most secure crypto experience to our users. Our Coinbase Tracer tools are designed to support compliance and help investigate financial crimes like money laundering and terrorist financing. Coinbase Tracer sources its information from public sources and does not make use of Coinbase user data. Ever.
Unfortunately, traders on social media are not buying it, and were quick to issue messages of both a doubtful and defamatory nature. One individual wrote in response to the statement:
You guys couldn’t let Celsius have all the fun in the spotlight, huh?
The discussion is clearly referring to the recent news that Celsius – a popular crypto lending platform – has halted customer withdrawals and prevented people from gaining access to their money as the market continues to show heightened volatility.
Another user said:
I’m never buying any more crypto on your platform. You’re probably allowing the government to track us with your new ICE deal.
Translation: Coinbase does not sell user data to the gov. Instead, they sell tools to the government that lets them track your data.
Coinbase has stirred controversy – like many crypto exchanges – for allegedly backing out on its hiring promises. The company claimed that 2022 would be the year in which Coinbase expanded its staff by three times its original numbers, though the market crash caused the company to eventually put a hiring freeze in place.
This was later followed by an announcement that the digital platform was going to let roughly 18 percent of its present staff go.
Moving Into Europe?
Despite plans to release employees, the company is expanding into Europe, claiming:
During market downturns, the temptation can be to shy away from international expansion. We first entered the UK and EU during the bear market in 2015, a move that paid off significantly during the bull run a few years from then.