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Coinbase Reacts to IRS’ John Doe Summons

Avatar Gautham 3 years ago

The conflict of interests between the governments and Bitcoin sector is well known. The increasing adoption of decentralized, peer to peer digital currency has got the governments worrying about the potential loss of control over their respective nations’ monetary policies. The government organizations are trying to compensate for their insecurities by strong-arming the cryptocurrency platforms. The US Government, through IRS, seems to have made one such attempt against Coinbase recently.

The US government agencies are known to ask tech companies to provide private information belonging to their customers on a regular basis. As the government blatantly violates the right to privacy of millions of citizens behind their backs, some of the companies put up a fight to protect their customers’ interests. In the case of Coinbase, the IRS has issued a “John Doe” summons to the company, asking it to turn over all records of transactions on the platform during the period of 2013 and 2015. The summons, according to reports will require the company to provide details of all user profiles, history of changes made to these profiles since they were created, complete user preferences, security settings and history of activity including transactions, devices used for transactions, payment methods and more.

The requirement stated by IRS, if complied will compromise the privacy of thousands, if not millions of Coinbase users residing both inside the United States and outside the country’s jurisdiction. While it is not clear how the issue will pan out, Coinbase, for now, is putting up a fight against the summons by filing a civil petition in the Federal Court of California.

One of the Redditors, claiming to be a representative of Coinbase comments,

“Coinbase here. Can confirm a civil petition was filed yesterday in federal court in California. We take user privacy very seriously and will work to protect the privacy of our users in broad information requests. We are taking a very careful look at this petition and the scope of the government’s authority as it relates to this request.”

Coinbase is currently in a precarious position as any compliance to the IRS summons without resistance will create a backlash against the company among the cryptocurrency community. Also, it is stated that the company’s policies will require Coinbase to fight for its customers’ right to privacy.

Even though the IRS summons doesn’t come as a surprise, the outcome of the petition is something that will be closely monitored by the cryptocurrency community and civil liberties unions.

Ref: Plainsite Legal Document | CATO | Image: Coinbase
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