One of the most critical aspects of cryptocurrencies is their decentralized nature and right to privacy. A system where individuals could reclaim financial power through a decentralized financial system. Until now, the US government and many others have not respected this in any way. However, in a major victory for cryptocurrency, the state of Wyoming passed legislation prohibiting any form of forcing a person to reveal their private keys to their crypto wallets. This means even captured criminals do not need to forfeit their funds.
Wyoming Says Your Keys Your Coins
Along with multitudes of reasons, we should be keeping our cryptocurrencies in exchanges and in our own wallets. Wyoming officially passed a bill on February 15th during their 67th general session of the Wyoming House of Representatives.
The Bill claimed 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[s]”
This critical process is essential and should go into effect by the first of July, should Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon approve it. At the time of writing, it seems all thumbs are up. Although the legislation letter is not very detailed, it does come with some disadvantages.
Although judges from the District of Wyoming can not force an individual to provide his private keys to a wallet, they can force the individual to sell, transfer, or disclose the digital assets in their wallets. This is still a big step forward, nonetheless. This news will still benefit darknet market vendors who are captured for reasons aside from their online activity.
Wyoming has stood for the right to privacy and is already seen as one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly states in the US ( according to a study, the state of Nevada has the friendliest cryptocurrency laws). Wyoming citizens can already pay their taxes and in late 2021, Wyoming was the first state to officially recognize a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as an official limited liability business (LLC.) A few years Wyoming was even in the talks of releasing its own stablecoin (though this dwindled away)
The “Production of private keys; prohibition” Bill
BILL NO. HB0086
ENROLLED ACT NO. 27, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SIXTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WYOMING
2023 GENERAL SESSION
AN ACT relating to digital assets; prohibiting the compelled production of a private key that relates to a digital asset, digital identity or other interest or right except as specified; providing a definition; repealing a definition; and providing for an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Wyoming:
Section 1. W.S. 34‑29‑107 is created to read:
34‑29‑107. Production of private keys; prohibition.
(a) 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.
(b) This section shall not be interpreted to prohibit any lawful proceeding that compels a person to produce, sell, transfer, convey or disclose a digital asset, digital identity or other interest or right to which a private key provides access, or to disclose information about the digital asset, digital identity or other interest or right, provided that the person is not required to produce or disclose the private key except as otherwise required by subsection (a) of this section.
Will Other US States Follow Suite?
As seen over the last day, the global cryptocurrency market received a massive boost, with Bitcoin gaining at least 10.7% in the last 24 hours. The total crypto market cap reached its 2023 high of $1.16 trillion. This information came alongside the wake of some eased-regulations such as the Wyoming bill.
Unfortunately, there is very little evidence to show that the US government has changed their overall stance on cryptocurrencies. The US regulates cryptocurrencies more than most countries in the world, and many states choose to keep their laws strict over digital assets. We can only hope to see further changes to the cryptocurrency regulation wins as we move to a more privacy-driven future.
The reality is that this shouldn’t affect darknet markets as most darknet admins reside outside of the US due to practical reasons. This will affect very few if any, darknet vendors at this point, but it’s a sign of what’s to come.
Let us know if you think this means for the darknet?
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.