Building a more open financial system: How Coinbase detects bad actors

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By Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer

Tl;dr: At Coinbase, we take our responsibility to build a more open, accessible financial system very seriously. We’re deeply committed to our asset listing policies and processes, and we’ll continue to innovate as our dynamic space evolves.

A few weeks ago, we shared concerns about purchases of certain assets right before we announced they were being considered for listing on Coinbase — possibly using insider information. We take this issue very seriously and therefore wanted to share more about our efforts in this space.

First, it’s important to understand that tracking and disrupting bad actors using crypto is far more effective than if they were using traditional fiat currencies. This isn’t to say that it’s easy, but we do have an advantage because crypto transactions are recorded on a permanent and public blockchain, which gives our investigation teams — along with the public and law enforcement — visibility into the details of different transactions. With crypto, it’s possible to trace and map transactions across users and exchanges — creating a fuller picture of what happened with any given trade, and making it easier to identify things that look like possible market manipulation or trades using material nonpublic information.

We have more than a decade of experience tracking and disrupting illegal activity, and have built expert teams to support these efforts along the way, including many with substantial experience in the public and private sector. In addition to our Security, Trade Surveillance,…

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