It is now up to the governor of Wyoming to put the final stamp of approval on the landmark bill.
The U.S. state of Wyoming has passed a bill that protects its citizens from having to disclose their private keys, with a singular exception. Having now been approved by the state Senate and House of Representatives, it now simply needs to be signed by the Governor in order to take effect.
The bill states that, “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.”
It does not specify that it would be only for Bitcoin keys, so it would also apply the same to private keys utilized as decentralized identities, or any other use cases. Wyoming has been the center of attention in regards to Bitcoin adoption in the U.S. for some time, partially because of Senator Cynthia Lummis’ ardent support of Bitcoin and push for regulation within the country.
Christopher Allen, internet cryptography pioneer and executive director of Blockchain Commons who previously wrote for Bitcoin Magazine in regards to the importance of protecting private key sovereignty, described why Wyoming has been a groundbreaking state for this type of legislature.
“[Wyoming] 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 take effect on July 1, 2023.