Bill to Protect an Individual’s Private Crypto Keys Passed in Ohio, WY
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Bill to Protect an Individual’s Private Crypto Keys Passed in Ohio, WY

The new rule does not apply to situations where the public key fails to provide all the necessary information.
Neither the author, Ruholamin Haqshanas, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

Wyoming lawmakers have passed a bill that forbids the forced disclosure of private crypto keys by courts in the state in a civil or criminal case. Notably, the law does not apply when the public key fails to provide all the necessary information about the ownership or transfer of digital assets. 

Wyoming Bans Forced Disclosure of Private Keys

On Wednesday, Wyoming’s House of Representatives passed the “Disclosure of private cryptographic keys” bill, which bans courts in the state from compelling crypto owners to disclose their private keys. The bill passed by a vote of 31-0 in the Wyoming Senate on Tuesday and by a vote of 41-13 in the Wyoming House of Representatives yesterday. 

Notably, the bill does have a small exception. Only in cases where a public key is unavailable or does not offer enough insight into a digital asset can a court issue an order to disclose private keys. The bill reads:

“No person shall be compelled to produce a private key or make a private key known to any other person in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceeding in this state that relates to a digital asset, digital identity or other interest or right to which the private key provides access unless a public key is unavailable or unable to disclose the requisite information with respect to the digital asset, digital identity or other interest or right.”

The bill mentions that the new rules are not meant to prohibit any lawful proceeding that forces a person to reveal a private key that “provides access, or to disclose information about the digital asset, digital identity or other interest or right” if required by law. 

The bill is set to take effect starting in July. Moreover, the legislation comes under Chapter 29 — Digital Assets, which is a subset of Title 34 — Property, Conveyances and Security Transactions, according to the filing. 

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Small Victory for Crypto as Officials Approve Digital Privacy

The latest bill in Wyoming can be deemed a victory for the crypto market as it indicates a growing understanding of the crypto space. In crypto, a private key, also known as a secret key, is essential because it enables users to retain control of their digital funds. 

In other words, a private key is like a password for cryptocurrency as it grants users ownership of the funds at a given public address. Therefore, private keys are an essential security feature to protect from unauthorized access to funds, and disclosing these keys is unsafe. 

It is worth noting that Wyoming has long been one of the most crypto-friendly states in the U.S. Back in 2021, the state introduced a bill for the implementation of a new filing system intended to “use blockchain technology as the technological framework for the system.” The state has also become the first US state to declare a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as a limited liability company (LLC). 

Meanwhile, Bitcoin is trading at over $24,600, up by more than 10% over the past day. Similarly, Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, has gained around 9% over the past 24 hours. The surge in crypto prices comes as the latest US CPI print showed annual inflation cooling to 6.4% in January.

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Do you think other US states should follow Wyoming in digital privacy? Let us know in the comments below.