In Novel Ruling, 5th Circ. Curbs Privacy On Bitcoin Exchanges

Law360 (July 8, 2020, 4:49 PM EDT) — A first-of-its-kind Fifth Circuit finding that Bitcoin exchanges can disclose user data to the government without being served a warrant has troubled advocates, who say the boosted privacy that the cryptocurrency can provide is crucial to its appeal. 

In the June 30 ruling, the circuit court found that FBI agents who subpoenaed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase for records of Richard Gratkowski’s payments to a child pornography website didn’t violate Gratkowski’s Fourth Amendment rights because users exchanging digital coins have no more of an expectation of privacy than do account holders at traditional banks.

The decision — the first federal appeals court ruling to address a Bitcoin trader’s…

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