Major cryptocurrency exchange signs $1.4 million deal to help ICE track crypto trades

One of the big appeals of cryptocurrency is anonymity: Unlike actual money and conventional financial transactions, crypto is very difficult to track. Not everyone thinks that’s a good thing, of course. In 2018, for instance, Bill Gates (opens in new tab) said the anonymous nature of crypto was making it more difficult for government agencies to combat criminal activity such as money laundering, tax evasion, and terror funding. The values ​​of Bitcoin and Ethereum also took a big hit in 2021 when the EU proposed new regulations on cryptocurrencies that included the prohibition of anonymous crypto wallets (opens in new tab).

According to The Intercept (opens in new tab), however, Coinbase—the largest cryptocurrency exchange in North America—has made a deal with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, that grants the government agency access to a suite of tools used to track and identify crypto users. The report says the arrangement began with the sale of a single software license in August 2021 for $29,000, and then expanded into a second contract worth $1.36 million the following month.

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