The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch awarded a three-year contract to Coinbase for its analytics software on Sept. 16.
- The initial obligation is for $455,000 but can go up to a total of $1.37 million by 2024.
- The contract with ICE is the latest in a series of contracts between Coinbase and the U.S. government, as tracked by Tech Inquiry. Coinbase’s latest contract has the highest overall ceiling of all its government deals, however.
- In August, Coinbase signed a similar but smaller contract with ICE worth $29,000 to provide the border enforcement agency with licenses for its analytics software.
- The exchange also signed contracts in April 2021 and May 2020 and with the U.S. Secret Service to provide access to its analytics software. Both of these contracts were initially under $50,000 in value, but had maximum values of $183,750.
- Coinbase Analytics, the branch of the exchange behind its analytics software, emerged from Coinbase’s controversial 2019 acquisition of blockchain intelligence firm Neutrino.
- Several members of Neutrino’s eight-person team had previously worked on projects with The Hacking Team, an Italian hacking firm that sold spyware to authoritarian governments with a history of human rights abuses.
- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong eventually fired the Neutrino members associated with The Hacking Group, but Coinbase’s reputation for surveillance persists.