In 2020, almost all government requests to Coinbase for customer info came from criminal authorities

Coinbase released its second transparency report on Wednesday, showing that the overwhelming bulk of government interest in customer information last year came from authorities focused on criminal investigations.

The transparency reports are a relatively new initiative from the U.S.'s leading crypto exchange. They compile data on requests for information that Coinbase receives from civil agencies and law enforcement. The first came out in October, covering H1 of 2020. With the second, Coinbase has new data from H2. 

Of a total of 4,227 such requests that Coinbase received last year, only 165 came from civil concerns. However, there was a sharp uptick between H1 and H2, from 66 to 99 requests, suggesting that civil authorities may be growing more interested in crypto activities. 

This is not entirely surprising, as tax authorities like the IRS have been scrutinizing crypto exchanges more aggressively recently. But even in H2, criminal authorities submitted 95.7% of all requests that Coinbase received. 

Of note is the geographic origin of these requests. As before, the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany lead the world in government interest in Coinbase user activity. The three nations combined account for roughly 90% of all the requests for which Coinbase accounted.