Private Key Disclosure Protected Under New Wyoming Law

Wyoming’s legislature has enacted a bill forbidding the forced production of a private key in the U.S. state. Additionally, it protects digital identities and other state-granted rights and interests, with one exception.

The bill states, “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…”

However, the section specifically bars the prohibition of authorized action due to the bill’s interpretation. Representatives approved the bill on Feb. 15 by a vote of 41-13. The Wyoming Senate approved it on Feb. 14 by a vote of 31-0.

Will the U.S. Adopt Private Key Protection Norms?

Wyoming has a crypto-friendly legislature. But at the national level, there is no regulation governing crucial disclosure at the moment. But, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects witnesses. They are protected from being coerced into testifying against themselves. But, it is a case-to-case application of this rule.

A key (or address) is a string of alphanumeric characters that can also be represented as a scannable QR code. This address can then send and receive funds via transactions on a blockchain network.

Contrarily, Australia’s new legislation empowers law enforcement agencies. It can compel companies to turn up customer information and data even when encrypted. This has ignited a debate about weakening cryptography in the island state. But, it has also become the land of one of the harshest crypto rules.  

India’s Section 69 of the Information Technology Act 2008 also applies similar rules. The rule empowers the central and state governments to give instructions for monitoring, decrypting, or intercepting any information using any computer resource.

Country Amid Security vs. Privacy Debate

In the U.S., while regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have taken an interest in the crypto market, rules still need to be clarified. In addition to taking action against several exchanges that were discovered to be operating unlawfully, the SEC has been vigorously cracking down on fraudulent ICOs. This enforcement has made it clear to the sector that it needs to abide by certain norms to function.

A Congressional Research on crypto policy issues noted, “The balance of privacy and security depends in large part on whether transactions occur off-chain on centralized platforms or via on-chain transactions.”

Gary Gensler, the chairman of the SEC, recently recommended changing the federal custody regulations to encompass crypto assets.


BeInCrypto has reached out to company or individual involved in the story to get an official statement about the recent developments, but it has yet to hear back.