The Fifth Amendment and Bitcoin: Why the Battle is About to Begin

Brian Klein is a partner at the litigation boutique Baker Marquart LLP and an advisor to BlockSeer, a blockchain analytics company. 

Klein’s practice focuses on criminal and regulatory defense and civil litigation, and he represents numerous clients involved with digital currency and blockchain technology.


The fight over digital privacy and security waged between governments and their citizens and companies is getting more contentious and serious.

A recent development indirectly raises the significant issue of whether the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protects people from being forced to disclose their bitcoin private keys to law enforcement.

On 16th February, at the request of US federal prosecutors, a federal court issued an order requiring Apple to unlock an iPhone tied to the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

The prosecutors sought this order so that law enforcement can create a “backdoor” allowing them to bypass the iPhone’s built-in encryption technology. This order, which Apple plans to challenge, highlights ongoing and serious tensions over digital privacy and security, in particular encryption, and it is therefore likely to have broad implications for bitcoin, which is encryption-based.

To that end, one issue of great importance that the Apple order indirectly raises

Read more ... source: TheBitcoinNews

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