Coinbase says it was not involved in the DOJ’s Bitcoin ransom seizure

Coinbase’s Chief Security Officer has refuted suggestions the U.S. crypto exchange was involved in any seizure of crypto assets related to recent Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.

CSO Philip Martin took to Twitter on June 8 to explain the firm’s involvement, or lack of it, with the Department of Justice warrant for the seizure of Bitcoin.

“Coinbase was not the target of the warrant and did not receive the ransom or any part of the ransom at any point. We also have no evidence that the funds went through a Coinbase account/wallet.”

The official seizure story, in which government officials recovered 63.7 BTC, worth roughly $2.3 million at the time, had a number of irregularities. Federal investigators claimed to have obtained the Darkside group’s private keys but did not disclose how the FBI was able to commandeer them.

According to the affidavit, the private key for the subject address was in the possession of the FBI in the Northern District of California. This led to the connection with Coinbase which has servers in the area as a number of Twitter users pointed out. Martin refuted these claims stating:

“I’ve also read that because the seizure warrant specified property in the Northern District of California, it had to be targeted at Coinbase. Nope. What this likely means is that the private key is located at one of the many Northern California FBI field offices.”

He added that due to the exchange’s storage mechanisms which use a…

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