Coinbase Got a $1.36 Million Contract With ICE

Coinbase has secured its largest federal contract thus far: a $1.36 million contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The contract was first spotted by Jack Paulson, executive director of Tech Inquiry, a research group that documents federal contracts and ties to various industries including the tech sector. The specifics of the contract are unclear, and in the Federal Procurement Data System, Coinbase’s ICE contract is categorized as “IT AND TELECOM – BUSINESS APPLICATION/APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE.” It was contracted out by the Investigations and Operations Support Dallas office, which provides “mission-based acquisition support to all programs under the Office of Homeland Security Investigations.”

Do you know more about federal contracts with technology companies? Using a non-work device or email, contact Edward Ongweso Jr at edward.ongweso@vice.com or on Signal at 202-642-8240.

This isn’t Coinbase’s first contract with ICE. Last month, the cryptocurrency company was paid $29,000 to provide “forensics software” to the agency. Last year, Coinbase signed two contracts with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service. The new contract is starting with an obligation to pay Coinbase $455,000 with that total going up to $1.36 million if all the contract’s options are exercised and Coinbase completes all its obligations. 

For a while now, Coinbase has been angling to sell blockchain analysis software created by Coinbase Analytics, which came about after acquiring analytics company Neutrino in 2019, to the government. Coinbase’s acquisition caught heat that year as some Neutrino employees had also worked for Hacking Team, pushing the company to fire those employees after the uproar.

Coinbase did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.

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