Bitcoin user battles IRS in court over access to private data


    A Bitcoin user has gone to court to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from accessing personal data of millions of users on Coinbase, a San Francisco-based digital asset exchange company.

    Jeffrey K. Berns, a managing partner with the Los Angeles firm Berns Weiss LLP, filed a motion Tuesday before a California federal court in an attempt to quash a “John Doe” summons issued last month by the IRS on the Bitcoin trading and storage platform.

    A “John Doe” summons is an order that identifies a person or group by their activity, rather than by their specific identity.

    In this case, the IRS is using it to require Coinbase to disclose almost every transaction of every user from 2013 to 2015 based on alleged wrongdoing committed by one individual and two companies, according to IRS’ declaration to the court.

    Berns says relying on just three isolated cases of alleged tax evasion does not justify placing the privacy of millions of Coinbase users at risk. He argues the three cases do not mean most Coinbase users “may fail or may have failed to comply” with IRS laws.

    Federal investigators justify the summons on the grounds they need the personal information to ensure…

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