Wyoming Lawmakers Pass Bill Prohibiting Forced Disclosure of Private Crypto Keys

The U.S. state's House of Representatives approved the rules, which won't apply in cases where there is no alternative way to access the requisite information.

AccessTimeIconFeb 16, 2023 at 9:46 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 16, 2023 at 6:47 p.m. UTC

Wyoming's House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that effectively prohibits the forced disclosure of private crypto keys by the U.S. state's courts.

A private key is used to verify crypto transactions and prove ownership of assets or a blockchain address.

The bill titled "Disclosure of private cryptographic keys" is set to take effect in July and applies to all cases except in instances where information relevant to a case is unavailable through alternative means.

"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 said.

The bill says the rules are not intended to disrupt "any lawful proceeding" that requires people to disclose the ownership or transfer of crypto.

Wyoming has brought forward several blockchain-focused laws including for a blockchain filing system, and a legal framework for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) that govern decentralized finance.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.