Wyoming Legislature Passes Bill Protecting Bitcoin Private Keys From Courts

It is now up to the governor of Wyoming to put the final seal of approval on the landmark bill.

The US state of Wyoming has passed a bill that protects its citizens from disclosing their private keys, with one singular exception. Now approved by the state Senate and House of Representatives, it now only needs to be signed by the governor in order to take effect.

The Bill states that, “No person shall be compelled in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceeding in this State to produce the private key or to make the private key known to any other person which is digital relating to the property, digital identity or other interest or right to which the private key provides access unless a public key is available or to disclose information necessary in relation to the digital property, digital identity or other interest or right be unable to

It doesn’t specify that this would only be for bitcoin keys, so it would also apply to private keys used as decentralized identity, or any other use cases. Wyoming has been the focus of attention regarding bitcoin adoption in the US for some time, partly due to Senator Cynthia Lummis’ strong support of bitcoin and her push for regulation within the country.

Christopher Allen, a pioneer of Internet cryptography and executive director of Blockchain Commons, who previously wrote for Bitcoin Magazine regarding the importance of protecting private key sovereignty, explained why Wyoming is an important state to have this type of legislature.

,[Wyoming] It has a long tradition of ‘good fences make for good neighbors’ … and as a small state it has a true ‘citizen’ legislature. … they resonate well with the concept of “self-sovereignty” in bitcoin and digital identity,” Allen told Bitcoin Magazine.

If approved by the governor, the bill would go into effect on July 1, 2023.


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