“The best things in life are free, but sooner or later the government will find a way to tax them.” Once said by someone anonymous but wise without a doubt. 

Once feared as a mythical sea monster, the Kraken is now making waves of a different kind. No longer content with sinking ships,  Kraken the crypto exchange seems like it has found itself in the firm grip of a court order, a net cast by none other than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the quest for tax compliance, Ahoy, there be taxes ahead! 

Details of the Court Order

For a while now, the IRS has been pushing for more transparency in the cryptocurrency industry. Their efforts reached a critical milestone when the court granted their request to retrieve user data from Kraken. This was primarily to ensure all crypto earnings were appropriately taxed, marking an essential move in IRS’s attempt to regulate the crypto industry.

First, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the court order. We’re not in a courtroom drama, but the stakes are pretty high. The court has requested that Kraken disclose user information. However, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t encompass every Kraken user – it’s only for users who have conducted transactions worth $20,000 or more between 2016 and 2020.

In today’s digital age data is arguably the most valuable asset. Interestingly, the court did give Kraken a bit of a break, dismissing the IRS’s attempts to hoard more treasure in the form of employment information and sources of wealth.


Impact on Kraken and Users

Now comes the question: so what?

The court order against Kraken could have far-reaching implications for both the exchange and its users. For Kraken, the order represents a serious breach of the company’s privacy policies. It means the company will have to hand over a vast amount of personal user data to the IRS, potentially undermining trust in the platform. This, in turn, could lead to a loss of users or reduced trading volumes, negatively impacting Kraken’s business model.

For the users themselves, especially those involved in large-scale cryptocurrency trading, the order brings about immediate concerns about their financial security. The IRS is looking into underreported tax liability, and users who haven’t fully complied with tax laws could face serious repercussions. This isn’t just a slap on the wrist; we’re talking about potentially significant fines, and in extreme cases, possible criminal charges for tax evasion.

That’s not all. There are broader implications for the cryptocurrency industry. The case signifies increased governmental oversight and scrutiny into cryptocurrency trading, something that could be viewed negatively by proponents of crypto’s decentralized and unregulated nature. This could also set a precedent for other exchanges to face similar orders, leading to a wider impact on the privacy and financial security of cryptocurrency traders around the globe.

Official Statement from Kraken

In a note sent to Bitcoin.com News, a Kraken spokesperson said: “Kraken’s guiding principles include maintaining our clients’ security and privacy.”

The company added, “We fought the IRS because they sought intrusive and unnecessary information about U.S. clients, including IP addresses, employment information, sources of wealth, net worth, and banking details. We appreciate that the court rejected all these demands, recognizing that the IRS requests were ‘much broader than what is necessary.’ Were this information leaked by the IRS, it would expose Kraken clients to identity theft and other harm, which Kraken prevented. Kraken will always stand up for its clients as it did successfully here.”

You be the judge.

IRS and Cryptocurrency

When it comes to cryptocurrency taxation, the IRS doesn’t take the matter lightly, it plays by the book. They view cryptocurrency as a form of property. This court order is a clear message in a bottle from the IRS, signaling their commitment to ensuring cryptocurrency earnings are not hidden away in secret coves.

The eye of IRS fixed on crypto exchanges

Taxation Cases of Other Crypto Exchanges

This isn’t the first time a crypto exchange has been under the regulatory telescope. Other major exchanges like Coinbase and Binance.US have also had to navigate legal waters with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 

In the case of Coinbase, a legal hearing is set to occur much earlier than expected due to a “creative” defense tactic employed by the exchange. Coinbase filed its first response 40 days ahead of the deadline, propelling the case forward. As a key part of their defense, Coinbase argued that many of the tokens involved in the SEC’s case fall outside the Commission’s jurisdiction, thereby challenging the SEC’s authority.

Binance.US, on the other hand, has been dealt an even heavier hand by the SEC. The regulatory body launched a civil suit against the exchange, accusing it of operating as an unlicensed brokerage. What’s more, the SEC sought an emergency temporary restraining order to freeze all $2.2 billion of Binance.US’s funds, which would have been a financial “death penalty” for the company, as the exchange’s lawyers put it. Though the restraining order was ultimately dismissed by a judge, the serious nature of the request indicates the SEC’s firm stance on the need for stringent regulation in the crypto sector.

Related news: SEC’s Odd Request: Coinbase Rejects Delisting All But Bitcoin


While it’s hard to predict the future, this order is a sign that the IRS, and potentially other tax bodies worldwide, will take more steps to ensure cryptocurrency earnings are taxed appropriately. Crypto users should expect to see more such orders in the future.

The best protection against potential tax issues is knowledge and compliance. Be aware of the tax laws in your country, report your earnings honestly, and pay your taxes dutifully. While crypto offers some level of anonymity, this court order proves that it’s not completely exempt from regulatory oversight.