Craig Wright, a computer scientist who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, prevailed Monday in a civil lawsuit against the family of a deceased business partner who claimed he was owed half of a cryptocurrency fortune worth tens of billions.
A Florida jury concluded that Wright did not owe half of the 1.1 million Bitcoin to David Kleiman’s family. The jury awarded $ 100 million in intellectual property rights to a joint venture between the two men, a fraction of what Kleiman’s lawyers were asking for at trial.
“It was a tremendous victory for our team,” said Andres Rivero of Rivero Mestre LLP, senior counsel representing Wright.
David Kleiman died in April 2013 at the age of 46. Led by his brother Ira Kleiman, his family claimed that David Kleiman and Wright were close friends and co-created Bitcoin in a partnership.
At the center of the trial was 1.1 million Bitcoin, worth around $ 50 billion based on Monday’s prices. These were among the first Bitcoin to be created through mining and could only be owned by one person or entity involved in digital currency from its inception, such as the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Now the cryptocurrency community will be looking to see if Wright keeps his promise to prove he is the owner of Bitcoin. This would give credit to Wright’s claim, first made in 2016, that he is Nakamoto.
The case in Miami federal court was highly technical, with the jury listening to explanations of the complex workings of cryptocurrencies as well as the murky origins of Bitcoin’s birth. Jurors took an entire week to deliberate, repeatedly questioning lawyers on both sides as well as the judge about how cryptocurrencies work as well as the business relationship between the two men. At one point, the jurors signaled to the judge that they were deadlocked.
Bitcoin’s origins have always been a bit of a mystery, which is why this essay has gained so much attention from outsiders. In October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, a person or group of people by the name of “Satoshi Nakamoto” published an article defining the framework for a digital currency that was not linked to any legal or sovereign authority. Currency mining, which involves computers solving mathematical equations, began a few months later.
The name Nakamoto, roughly translated from Japanese to mean “in the center of”, has never been considered the real name of the creator of Bitcoin.
Wright’s claim that he is Nakamoto has sparked skepticism from a significant portion of the cryptocurrency community. Due to its structure, all Bitcoin transactions are public, and the 1.1 million Bitcoin in question has remained intact since its inception. Members of the Bitcoin community have regularly asked Wright to move only a fraction of the coins to a separate account to prove ownership and show that he really is as rich as he claims to be.
During the trial, Wright and other cryptocurrency experts testified under oath that Wright owns the bitcoin in question. Wright said he would prove his ownership if he won at the trial.
Lawyers for W&K Information Defense Research LLC, the joint venture between the two men, said they were “satisfied” that the jury awarded the $ 100 million in intellectual property rights to the company, which developed software that has laid the foundation for the first blockchain and cryptocurrency. technologies.
“Wright refused to give the Kleimans their fair share of what (David Kleinman) helped create and instead took those assets for himself,” said Vel Freedman and Kyle Roche of Roche Freedman LLP and Andrew Brenner, partner. at Boies Schiller Flexner, in a joint statement.
Wright’s attorneys have repeatedly said that David Kleiman and Wright are friends and collaborate to work together, but their partnership had nothing to do with the creation or early operations of Bitcoin.
Wright said he plans to donate a large chunk of Bitcoin’s fortune to charity if he wins at the trial. In an interview, Wright’s attorney, Rivero, reconfirmed Wright’s plan to donate much of his fortune in Bitcoin.