Last week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed paperwork in federal court requesting the disclosure of all Coinbase US customers’ records over a three-year period. The request was made on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which sought the authority to serve a John Doe Summons on Coinbase.

A John Doe Summons is an order that does not specifically identify a person but rather identifies an ascertainable group or class by their activities. The term John Doe Summons achieved notoriety in July 2008 when the procedure was used to crack the back of Swiss secrecy laws, which ultimately ended up in UBS turning over the names of nearly 4,500 holders of Swiss bank accounts to the IRS.

According to the civil petition, the IRS has launched an investigation to determine the correct amount of tax that those who use virtual currencies such as bitcoin are obligated to pay. But according to the documents, the IRS is requesting the identities of “United States persons who, at…



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