CFTC demands Coinbase user data in suspected Bybit probe

Crypto exchange Coinbase has reportedly sent an email to select users, informing them of a subpoena it received from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) demanding user account information and transaction history.

The email has sparked speculation that the CFTC is targeting Coinbase users that have interacted with Bybit — suggesting the commission may be preparing for legal action against the Dubai-based exchange.

“We write to inform you that Coinbase has been served with a subpoena,” the email to select users read, “seeking information related to your account and account transaction activity.”

However, the email stated that Coinbase may decide to counter the CFTC subpoena — and therefore user information will not yet be handed over.

“No action is required from you,” the email continued, “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 [CFTC].”

CFTC subpoena to Coinbase may be about Bybit

Dubai-based Bybit was founded by Chinese entrepreneur Ben Zhou in 2018. However, it only introduced mandatory know-your-customer (KYC) checks in May this year.

Following the collapse of Silvergate Bank, Bybit halted US dollar transfers. It has recently fallen under regulatory scrutiny in the UK and Japan, with the finance watchdogs of both countries issuing severe warnings and demanding compliance.

News of a CFTC subpoena against select Coinbase users that appear to share transaction history with Bybit suggests to some that Bybit’s regulatory woes will continue in the US.

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According to Alice Comfy, CIO of Shinoji Research, this may be a way of proving that Bybit was serving US customers — “which can then lead to CFTC action similar to what Binance and BitMEX went through,” she told CryptoSlate.

“Anyone who ever sent from Bybit to [Coinbase] got that email,” one X user wrote. “Probably the CFTC fishing for burger users to establish jurisdiction.”

Protos has reached out to Coinbase and will update this piece should we hear back.

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