Wyoming lawmakers pass bill prohibiting courts from forcing disclosure of digital asset
The legislature in Wyoming recently approved a measure that, with one tiny exception, would make it illegal for judges in the state to compel individuals to provide the secret keys to their digital assets.
On February 15, the measure was approved by the Wyoming House of Representatives with a vote of 41-13, one day after receiving approval from the Wyoming Senate with a vote of 31-0.
The new legislation is scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year if Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signs the measure into law.
According to the soon-to-be-enacted law in the state of Wyoming, "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[s]," in Wyoming. "No person shall be compelled to produce a private key or make a private key known to any other person."
The legislation encompasses any private keys that are connected to a person's digital assets, digital identity, or any other interests or rights that are provided by the private key.
The one and only exception to this rule is in situations in which a public key is either not accessible or is unable to divulge specifics of a digital asset, digital identity, or any other interest or right.
However, the act also states that the new law will not prevent anyone from being compelled "to produce, sell, transfer, convey, or disclose a digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right" that a private key could provide access to. This provision states that the new law will not prohibit the disclosure of digital assets, digital identities, or other interests or rights.
In addition to this, it does not protect an individual from being forced to "disclose information about the digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right."
The new statute will be known as "Production of private keys; prohibition," and its number will be W.S. 34-29-107.
The law pertaining to private keys is found in Chapter 29, which is titled "Digital Assets." This chapter is a subset of Title 34, which is titled "Property, Conveyances, and Security Transactions."
The private key legislation has been in the works since as early as September 2019, and the passage of the bill comes as a result of the law's progress.
Wyoming has a long history of being recognized as one of the states in the United States that is most favorable to the use of cryptocurrencies.
It was the first state in the United States to declare a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as a limited liability company (LLC) in July 2021. Additionally, it had previously considered a state-issued stablecoin in February 2022; however, it appears that those endeavors haven't progressed very much since then.