Exchanges

Kraken law enforcement requests tripled in 2018

January 7, 2019, 3:52AM EDT

Kraken, the largest U.S.-based crypto exchange by volume, released its so-called Compliance team's 2018 Transparency Report showing that the exchange received 475 law enforcement requests in 2018, a nearly 300% increase from 2017's 160 requests.

About 66% of these requests came from the law enforcement agencies in the U.S., while Kraken claims that only 20% of its users are based in the United States. The U.K., Germany and France combined for another 24% of the requests. Kraken said "US agencies are much more active and are much less surgical" and that many requests yield no matches. Kraken added that "it wouldn't be surprising to find that the same subpoenas go out to everyone in the hopes that a match will be found."

Many of the U.S. law enforcement requests came from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) followed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Kraken said that the "cost of handling subpoenas (regardless of licenses) is quickly becoming a barrier to entry."