Court orders self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright to pay $ 100 million
Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist who claims to be the inventor of bitcoin, has been ordered to pay $ 100 million in damages for the family of a deceased business partner.
A Miami jury convicted Wright of defrauding late IT security expert Dave Kleiman over intellectual property for cryptocurrency. The verdict marks the latest development in a case filed against Wright by the estate of Kleiman, which alleges him of stealing between 500,000 and 1.1 million bitcoin. At the time of writing, the value of these assets exceeded $50 billion.
The federal court, however, acquitted Craig Wright of all other charges. The outcome disappointed crypto enthusiasts as it didn’t resolve the debate over whether Wright is the mythical creator of the controversial cryptocurrency.
“This has been a remarkable good outcome and I feel completely vindicated. There are still more fights. We are going to make everything change: cryptocurrency to digital cash the way it’s meant to be,” Wright said in a video message.
Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been angry about the recent news just as prior attempts have infuriated Bitcoiners in the past. Indeed, Wright’s relationship with bitcoin is a complicated one. This controversy all started with his claim that he was Satoshi Nakamoto but quickly backed away from providing definitive proof that he was the anonymous inventor of Bitcoin.
People in the crypto community decried Craig Wright as a fraud and a scammer, and somewhere along the way, he earned the nickname Faketoshi.
Wright’s relationship to bitcoin is a complicated one
According to the court papers, Dave Kleiman died in 2013 after having been confined to a wheelchair for years following a motorcycle accident in 1995. His estate filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 2016.
The allegations concern the ownership of nearly 1.1 million bitcoins, as well as the intellectual property rights of various Blockchain technologies.
Dave Kleiman was an IT expert in Palm Beach, Florida, who had much expertise in computer forensics and security. The relationship with Craig Wright, which remained mostly hidden, was born out of a mutual obsession with cryptography and data security, the court papers say.
In 2015, leaked emails from Wright to Kleiman showed they had been discussing a new form of electronic money, months before the launch of Nakomoto’s whitepaper about Bitcoin in January 2009.
The lawsuit claims that Wright schemed to steal Kleiman’s bitcoins and the intellectual property rights associated with cryptocurrency technology. In addition, he forged and backdated a series of contracts that purported to transfer Kleiman’s assets to his companies.
Shortly after his death, according to the filling, Wright made contact with Kleiman’s brother to inform him that they had been working on a project together and that Kleiman had mined enormous amounts of bitcoins, and requested to check his old computers for wallet files.
This might have given Wright access to information that only Satoshi could have known, which in turn could have been used when Wright tried to offer proof that he is the real Satoshi Nakamoto.