Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin, has been cleared of six out of seven civil charges during a trial in a Miami court on Dec. 7 that put him up against the estate of his deceased business partner.
Trial and claims: The plaintiff of the civil court case declared that Wright and David Kleiman, a computer forensics expert and Wright’s friend, pre-mined 1.1 million bitcoin together (worth $54 billion), fueling an argument over whether Wright owed half of his assets to Kleiman’s family.
- The jury ruled that Wright and Kleiman did not have a partnership, and Wright will not pay the estate half of the $54 billion, according to CNN.
- The jury also declared that Kleiman and Wright did not have a partnership in writing the Bitcoin white paper as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, Coingeek reported. At the trial, which began on Nov. 1, Kleiman’s brother, Ira Kleiman, claimed Wright stole the 1.1 million bitcoin that Satoshi Nakamoto mined. He accused Wright of fraud, civil theft, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Kleiman’s brother filed the lawsuit against Wright in the Florida District Court in February 2018, in which he claimed that Wright forged several documents to make it look like his late brother had given away his shares, The Verge reported. Kleiman died in 2013.
- Although the verdict stated that Wright had won the civil trial, deemed by some as the “Bitcoin trial of the century,” the jury still awarded W&K Information Defense Research LLC, a company set up by Wright and Kleiman, $100 million in intellectual property rights. The jury said Wright took control of the company without any prior consent.
- Kleiman reportedly owned 25% of the joint venture, while Wright was named a beneficiary. His other company, Information Defense Pty Ltd., owned 35%, and his ex-wife, Lynn Wright, was listed as the majority shareholder with a 40% share, according to a document shared by podcast host Roy Murphy on Twitter.
Lynn Wright and Information Defense Pty Ltd (Craig’s company) as majority members legally wound up W&K Info Defense after Dave’s death at zero value. As Dave only held 25% of the company, Ira had no right to spin the company back up. Ira will lose his probate claim now. Watch. pic.twitter.com/DamaSx2N7D
— Roy Murphy ⛩ (@murphsicles) December 6, 2021
- The money from the trial will reportedly go to W&K and not to Kleiman’s estate. “We are immensely gratified that our client, W&K Information Defense Research LLC, has won $100,000,000 reflecting that Craig Wright wrongfully took bitcoin-related assets from W&K,” representatives from the company said, CNBC reported.
- “This has been a remarkably good outcome and I feel completely vindicated,” Wright said after the trial. “There are still more fights. We are going to make everything change: cryptocurrency to digital cash the way it’s meant to be.”
— Jimmy Nguyen (@JimmyWinSV) December 6, 2021
Craig Wright/Satoshi Nakamoto: Wright rocked the cryptocurrency world in 2016 when he claimed in a blog post that he was the real Satoshi Nakamoto and was willing to provide evidence to back up his statement, The Guardian reported at the time.
- Wright was interviewed by The Economist, BBC and GQ Magazine while claiming to be the real person behind the first cryptocurrency.
- However, he withheld his “extraordinary evidence” days after his announcement, saying, “I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot.”
- Although Bitcoin Foundation’s former chief scientist Gavin Andresen initially believed Wright’s claim in 2016, he took back his words in an interview in June 2020, saying that he “could have been fooled,” Bitcoin.com reported.
The face behind the cryptocurrency: Before Wright came into the picture, a Newsweek report in 2014 claimed Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese American engineer, was the inventor of Bitcoin.
- Nakamoto, who lives in Temple City, California, told the Associated Press in an interview that while most of the information presented in the report was correct, the claim that he is the inventor of Bitcoin is not true, CNN reported.
- The former defense contractor eventually launched a crowdfunding campaign and had planned to sue Newsweek over the report.
- NewsweekLied, a website with extensive information about Nakamoto and his legal defense fund, states that he was unemployed for at least 10 years when the news about his alleged identity broke out.
Featured Image via Ramon Quesada