Here’s What Coinbase’s Subpoena from the CFTC Means for You

The CFTC subpoenas Coinbase customer information in an apparent Bybit probe.

CFTC following the dodgy DEFI Connections.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • The CFTC has subpoenaed some Coinbase customer information per an official email to customers.
  • Given increased crypto regulatory efforts, the recent email could spark fear in some users.
  • Find out why the CFTC wants Coinbase customers’ account information.

On Monday, November 27, several Coinbase customers reported receiving an email notifying them that the U.S. CFTC had subpoenaed information about their accounts. Amidst the ongoing U.S. regulatory crackdown on crypto, it is hard to blame these users for fearing potential legal repercussions.

Official Coinbase email notifying users of CFTC probe.
Official Coinbase email notifying users of CFTC probe

If you have received this email, do not panic; DailyCoin has an explanation.

What Does It Mean?

The email suggests that the CFTC seeks information on Coinbase customer accounts as part of a Bybit probe. As such, it hints at a potential regulatory action against Bybit rather than Coinbase customers.

Why Is the CFTC Subpoenaing Coinbase Customers in a Bybit Probe?

The move to subpoena Coinbase customers suggests the agency might be trying to prove that Bybit, a Dubai-based exchange that claims not to operate in the U.S., is onboarding U.S. customers. The CFTC could use this to argue that the exchange has been operating illegally in the U.S.

Bybit only introduced mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) verification for all accounts in May 2023.

Who Is Affected?

Currently, only Coinbase users who have interacted with Bybit seem to have received this email. One user’s experience suggests that there is no time limit on when this interaction may have happened, and even just opening an unused account with Bybit is enough to make you eligible to receive the email.

What Should You Do if Your Account Is Affected?

In the email, Coinbase notes that users do not have to take any action.

Coinbase, however, will have to decide whether it is within legal bounds to provide information regarding your account, like the transaction history, to aid the CFTC’s investigation into Bybit.

"No action is required from you, but Coinbase may respond to the Subpoena unless served before November 30, 2023 with a motion to quash or other objection to the subpoena that has been filed with the Court - including by sending information concerning your Coinbase account to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission," the exchange asserted in the email.

On the Flipside 

  • While users may take issue with Coinbase being able to share their data with the CFTC, all centralized crypto exchanges are obligated to provide data to regulators and law enforcement when it is deemed reasonable.
  • Users seeking to maintain greater levels of privacy can opt for decentralized solutions that do not require user data.

Why This Matters

With mounting crypto enforcement actions, it is easy for panic to spread from emails like the one some Coinbase users recently received. However, in this case, users have no reason to fear as the CFTC ultimately appears to be setting its sights on Bybit.

Read this to learn more about the recent joint action, including the DOJ and the CFTC, against Binance:
DOJ Charges Binance, Mandates Binance Exit, CZ Pleads Guilty

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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Okoya David

David Okoya is a crypto news reporter at DailyCoin based in Nigeria. He covers various topics related to the cryptocurrency industry, including exchanges, regulations, and price movements, and strives to bring fresh angles to breaking news. With experience as a freelance crypto news writer, David upholds the highest journalistic standards, telling complete stories and answering lingering questions whenever possible.