‘Craig Is A Liar’ – Early Adopter Proves Ownership of Bitcoin Address Claimed By Craig Wright (#GotBitcoin?)
On May 16, an unknown person posted a signed message to social media concerning a bitcoin address that was used as evidence in the ongoing Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit. According to the message, which is verified to be the rightful owner of the address used in the Florida lawsuit, the address never belonged to “Satoshi or to Craig Wright” and once held over 160,000 BTC. ‘Craig Is A Liar’ – Early Adopter Proves Ownership of Bitcoin Address Claimed By Craig Wright (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Whale: ‘This Address Does Not Belong to Satoshi or Craig Wright’
Since last year, Craig Wright has been involved in a lawsuit against the Kleiman family who are suing him for allegedly manipulating the now deceased Dave Kleiman’s inheritance. Wright and Kleiman worked together and the Kleiman estate and Dave’s brother Ira accuse Wright of fraud of “over $11 billion worth of bitcoins.” This is due to a slew of documents and contracts submitted as evidence in the Florida lawsuit. One specific contract submitted to the courts called Exhibit 11 shows a variety of bitcoin addresses that were allegedly used in a trust held in the UK. ‘Craig Is A Liar’
The supposed trust would be kept untouched until the “regulatory issues” were resolved, likely referring to the regulatory unknowns with bitcoin at the time. However, on Feb. 27, 2018, almost immediately after the case came to light, Wizsec Security published a post called “Kleiman v Craig Wright: The bitcoins that never were” which debated the legitimacy of the trust’s addresses.
Wizsec’s research concluded that the only reason the addresses were used is because at one time they all had large amounts of BTC in them. The security researchers also went through the addresses to determine who the addresses may have belonged to. Some wallets were simply used for Mt. Gox cold storage and others were merely traders who managed to accumulate lots of coins. But on May 16, the owner of one of the bitcoin addresses listed — 16cou7Ht6WjTzuFyDBnht9hmvXytg6XdVT — posted a message to social media claiming ownership of the address. The message read:
Address 16cou7Ht6WjTzuFyDBnht9hmvXytg6XdVT does not belong to Satoshi or to Craig Wright. Craig is a liar and a fraud.
Signing a Message Tethered to a Bitcoin Address Requires Private Key Ownership
The message also contained the legitimate signature of the owner, which can be verified by using public tools online. Essentially the owner’s signed message contains a hash that successfully validates against the specific address that once held more than 160,000 BTC. After the message was posted to social media, Bitcoin supporters and blockchain analysts tested and verified it with tools to make sure it was legitimate. ‘Craig Is A Liar’, ‘Craig Is A Liar’, ‘Craig Is A Liar’, ‘Craig Is A Liar’, ‘Craig Is A Liar’
Blockchain developer Mark Lundeberg posted an image to r/btc that shows the Electron Cash wallet verified the message as being real. Many others verified the message as well, including the developer Jameson Lopp who posted his findings to Twitter. About a week before the verified signature was published on social media, Lopp stated that if the year-old Wizsec Security report was accurate then there are “~23 people who could cryptographically disprove Craig’s claimed ownership of these addresses.”
The address, 16cou7Ht6WjTzuFyDBnht9hmvXytg6XdVT (16cou-), is used in at least two documents stemming from the Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit, otherwise known as the Southern District Court of Florida case 9:18-cv-80176. The address is mentioned in Exhibit 11 as well as Exhibit 4 which describes an interesting encounter. Allegedly on October 13, 2011, Wright’s attorney swore by oath that his client came into his office and showed him his HTC mobile phone.
Then, the lawyer writes, “on the screen of the Wright mobile, I reviewed and verified the following bitcoin wallet addresses.” The last address listed on Exhibit 4 is the 16cou- address, the very one that was verified on May 16 and left a message calling Wright a “liar and fraud.”
The recent address signing from the ‘OG bitcoin whale’ spread like wildfire on Reddit and Twitter throughout the day. The message was meaningful to bitcoiners and not just for what it said, but for how it truly verified the integrity of the message. The demonstration has shown how validating ownership of a bitcoin address is simple. This has been the biggest cause of Wright’s self-proclaimed Satoshi theory being discredited as he has never provided any valid cryptographic proof.
Just as the legitimate address owner of the 16cou- address proved ownership, anyone can prove ownership with a bitcoin address if they truly hold the private keys. Crypto supporters know that simply claiming ownership of certain UTXOs is impossible without the private keys. People who attempt to do so without cryptographic proof will always fail miserably by showing they don’t understand how the technology works.
What do you think about the person who signed a message from the 16cou- address on May 16? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Self-Proclaimed Satoshi Craig Wright Files US Copyright Registrations for BTC White Paper
Craig Wright has filed United States copyright registrations for the Bitcoin (BTC) white paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Court documents show that the U.S. Copyright Office has registrations with Wright as the author of the white paper, as well as most of the original code used to build Bitcoin.
The Australian entrepreneur has long claimed to have written the cryptocurrency blueprint under the pseudonym.
A news release from May 21 claims that U.S. officials have received confirmation that Wright is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, but the news has been met with skepticism from some crypto commentators.
Jerry Brito, executive director at non-profit organization Coin Center, tweeted:
“Registering a copyright is just filing a form. The Copyright Office does not investigate the validity of the claim; they just register it. Unfortunately there is no official way to challenge a registration. If there are competing claims, the Office will just register all of them.”
According to the news release, Wright is making moves to establish himself as Bitcoin’s creator “after being dismayed to see his original Bitcoin design bastardized by protocol developer groups.”
It is believed that Wright is planning to assign the copyright registrations to the Bitcoin Association.
The businessman is currently the chief scientist at a startup known as nChain. The entrepreneur has been known for attracting controversy, with major crypto platforms recently beginning to boycott bitcoin sv (BSV,) the fork of bitcoin cash (BCH) which he backs.
Craig Wright Is Playing Three-Dimensional Checkers
Craig Wright’s attempt to copyright the bitcoin white paper is a bold, if silly, move by a person who may be both of those things.
Copyright registration is a simple way of claiming ownership of a literary work, song, or piece of art. I could, for example, claim copyright over my exciting new musical “Bitcoin White Paper LIVE!” (shown below), a theatrical rendition of Satoshi Nakamoto’s seminal writing in the style of Rogers and Hammerstein. But should I?
No. That would be silly.
Clearly, Wright thought he should. As revealed Tuesday, in April he filed registrations of the white paper with the U.S. Copyright Office on behalf of, we learned, the Bitcoin Association and the suddenly popular BSV token.
To be fair, there’s a certain game-theoretical logic to Wright’s move. Suppose (humor me here) Wright is Satoshi, as he has claimed for years. Then his copyright should hold up against any court challenge, settling once and for all the question of who Satoshi is… right?
If Wright isn’t Satoshi and the real Satoshi wants to claim copyright, she still would have to go to court and exhibit prior proof of authorship, which Twitter pumpers will say is also good for bitcoin somehow.
Finally, if Satoshi never shows up then Wright can do what he wants with the copyright, including sue others for infringement, who might then file countersuits to stop Wright from enforcing copyright.
Any of these scenarios will lead to little more than a few additional exciting headlines about bitcoin ownership in the mainstream media. We folks in the know will nod sagely and go on with our lives.
Speaking of nodding sagely, Star Wars fans will recognize this as an excellent opportunity to leave the old ways behind.
Just as a bolt of lightning destroyed the original Jedi texts in that tree on Blue Milk Island while Yoda hooted in ghost form, the same thing is now happening to the legend of Satoshi. Her technology and concepts have moved far beyond the desires and whims of one anonymous author, Australian or not, and so we enter a new, post-Satoshi era today.
In fact, Satoshi no longer matters. Any way you slice this thala-siren bologna, we win. ‘Craig Is A Liar’,‘Craig Is A Liar’,‘Craig Is A Liar’
US Copyright Office Says It Does Not ‘Recognize’ Craig Wright as Satoshi
Even as bitoin SV (BSV) enjoyed a Craig Wright/Satoshi bump Tuesday, the U.S. Copyright Office was hard at work dispelling notions that it officially “recognized” anyone as the inventor of bitcoin.
“As a general rule, when the Copyright Office receives an application for registration, the claimant certifies as to the truth of the statements made in the submitted materials. The Copyright Office does not investigate the truth of any statement made,” the Copyright Office wrote in a press release. “In a case in which a work is registered under a pseudonym, the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.”
As multiple sources have already noted, all it takes to register a copyright is $55 and a stable internet connection. In short, any claim that the U.S. government has registered Wright as the author of bitcoin are spurious at best.
Why did the government go to the trouble of clarifying this point? Wright’s actions required it. On Tuesday, a press representative sent a widely read release that suggested, in short, that the government accepted Wright was Satoshi. From the release:
Importantly, the registrations issued by the U.S. Copyright Office recognize Wright as the author – under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto – of both the white paper and code. This is the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.
The U.S. Copyright Office, on the other hand, doesn’t actually recognize anyone for anything. Ultimately, it is a repository designed for protecting the creators of art and literature. ‘Craig Is A Liar’, ‘Craig Is A Liar’
Who Is Wei Liu? Second Copyright Filing Appears For Bitcoin White Paper
Craig Wright, the Australian entrepreneur who recently and controversially filed copyright registrations for the bitcoin white paper and original code, now has a legal rival.
A second copyright registration (number TX0008726120) for the white paper has appeared on the public catalog of the United States Copyright Office, indicating that a certain Wei Liu is also claiming to have originated the work under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
The Filing Is Dated May 24, 2019, While Wright’s Is Dated April 11, 2019
Currently, it is not clear who Wei Liu is or why the registration was filed. However, it may well be that it is a counter to Wright’s move to assert ownership of fundamental bitcoin property. That came amid a flurry of legal threats from Wright against those who claim he is not Satoshi as he has claimed on various occasions – though he has yet to provide indisputable proof, such as a movement of Satoshi’s bitcoin.
Wright is also a key mover behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin SV (for “Satoshi Vision”) and said he would put the copyright registration in the hands of the foundation managing the token.
A Press Release Sent To Coindesk At The Time Reads:
“In the future, Wright intends to assign the copyright registrations to Bitcoin Association to hold for the benefit of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Bitcoin Association is a global industry organization for Bitcoin businesses. It supports BSV and owns the Bitcoin SV client software.”
To be clear, a registration is not recognition of a work’s authorship by the U.S. Copyright Office. The copyright process allows anyone to register a work, often in relation to lawsuits associated with ownership.
Indeed, the office said in a press release after the Wright registrations stirred up something of a storm, that it has not “recognized” anyone as the inventor of bitcoin.
“As a general rule, when the Copyright Office receives an application for registration, the claimant certifies as to the truth of the statements made in the submitted materials. The Copyright Office does not investigate the truth of any statement made,” the Copyright Office wrote.
“In a case in which a work is registered under a pseudonym, the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author,” it clarified.
The same will apply to the registration by Wei Liu.
Kleiman Estate Calls On Former nChain CEO For Deposition In Craig Wright Case
After a court slammed Craig Wright for producing forged documents and giving perjured testimony in the ongoing legal circus between Wright and Ira Kleiman’s estate concerning the Tulip Trust, Kleiman’s legal team is hard at work finding a key witness.
Wright’s legal team are trying to subpoena former nChain CEO Jimmy Nguyen to provide a deposition. However, it seems like they are having a difficult time tracking him down. Wright’s legal team left a comment on Jimmy’s latest Twitter post on March 29, saying:
“Jimmy — we’ve been trying to serve you with a subpoena in Kleiman v. Wright. We tried your house and your email. Will you accept service via Twitter?”
Craig Wright Beating Around The Bush
As Cointelegraph reported previously, the court had ordered Craig Wright to provide the private keys to Satoshi’s Bitcoin by January 1st via a bonded courier.
Since the court has suspected the documents provided by the bonded courier was forged. The court has also asked 4 more depositions of Wright’s associates, including his wife, Ramona Watts.
The case has lasted for over 20 months and has been thwarted by Wright’s deception and lack of cooperation. The court suspects nChain’s involvement in the case as documents provided by Wright indicated.
Craig Wright Must Prove Access To 1.1M BTC Fortune by April 17
There may soon be a new twist in the long-running legal case involving famous self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator, Craig Wright, and the estate of his alleged former partner, Dave Kleiman. Wright, one of the most well-known figures to claim the mantle of Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, has been ordered to provide documents supporting the case by April 17.
In an April 13 court order, United States district court Judge Beth Bloom overruled Wright’s objection to providing case documents on the basis of attorney-client and spousal privilege.
Wright Is Once Again Ordered To Provide Real Evidence For Holding His Bitcoin Fortune
The new order effectively means that Wright must produce a cache of 11,000 documents for use in the ongoing court case. The court alleges that Wright has access to 1.1 million bitcoins, once mined in partnership with his now-deceased partner, Kleiman.
This is not the first time that the self-styled Bitcoin creator has been ordered to provide these documents, however. Previously, Magistrate Judge Reinhart ordered Wright to produce a list of his Bitcoin holdings by March 12. The judge went on to slam Craig Wright for producing forged documents as well as giving a perjured testimony during the ongoing Tulip Trust hearing.
However, Wright has subsequently objected to the order, eventually arguing that the requested documents were protected by his attorney-client relationship, spousal privilege, and privilege relating to his involvement with 17 companies. The Defendant argued that Judge Reinhart’s order was “clearly erroneous and contrary to law” and should be “reversed and vacated.” Wright also emphasized that “prior determinations of forgery on unrelated issues is not an issue of credibility” of his attorney.
Judge Bloom Slams Wright’s Objection
As such, in the latest order, Judge Bloom has supported the Judge Reinhart’s previous ruling, stipulating that the Judge “properly considered Defendant’s history of lying and forging documents” and did not act contrary to the law. Judge Bloom wrote:
“Judge Reinhart, as such, was not clearly erroneous or acting contrary to law when considering the evidence before him and in assigning it due weight. Moreover, the Court is puzzled by Defendant’s apparent argument that Judge Reinhart must blindly accept items produced by Defendant such that Judge Reinhart cannot rely on his past experiences with Defendant in this litigation (including his history of providing forged materials and giving perjured testimony) […]”
Wright, aka “Faketoshi”, Might Not Have Access To 1.1M Bitcoin At All
The new court ruling may help the community better understand who Craig Wright really is. Since the case was filed in February 2018, Wright has made every possible attempt to postpone the payout of 500,000 bitcoins that he allegedly stole from Kleiman.
Known as “Faketoshi” by some in the crypto community, Wright might not have access to 500,000 BTC at all. Some known crypto personalities have publicly questioned Wright’s ability to pay that amount of Bitcoin. For instance, cryptocurrency podcaster, Peter McCormack, placed a $10,000 bet that Wright does not have access to that amount of Bitcoin.
Meanwhile, Wright is purportedly pretty sure that he’ll get access to his Bitcoin fortune. In a January 2020 interview with Cointelegraph, the self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator declared that he is “99.9999 and a few more 9s percent certain” that he will be taking control of his Bitcoin.
The new court order came on the same day that Wright abandoned his $125,000 libel suit against Blockstream CEO, Adam Back, over his assertion that Wright was fraudulently claiming to be the creator of Bitcoin.
Wright v. Kleiman Enters Final Act — Document Reveal May Set Precedent
Some attorneys say the Kleiman v. Wright court case may set legal precedents that could impact the future of Bitcoin.
Another episode of the Kleiman v. Wright saga concluded Monday with District Court Judge Beth Bloom ordering Craig Wright to turn over the 11,000-plus documents that Wright had declared “privileged.”
Riveting the crypto world for more than two years, the case centers on 1.1 million Bitcoin that may or may not have been mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s founder, which may or may not be in a trust controlled by Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto himself. If any Bitcoins are retrieved, Wright may have to share them with the estate of his former business partner, the late David Kleiman.
Judge Bloom’s order was no surprise. The standard to overrule a magistrate judge’s discovery orders is quite stringent, as Jason Gottlieb, partner of Morrison Cohen’s business litigation department and chair of its White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement Practice Group, told Cointelegraph, adding:
“Both Magistrate Judge Reinhart and Judge Bloom appear to have lost patience with Dr. Wright, with Reinhart referring to forged materials and perjured testimony, and Judge Bloom not challenging that finding (indeed appearing to accept it).”
“A Stark Reminder”
“Judge Bloom has handed defendants a stark reminder of the risks of playing fast and loose with a federal judge,” added Bradford A. Patrick, an attorney based in Florida. “Judges are generally inclined to rule in line with their magistrates, and this objection is no different.” Patrick shared more with Cointelegraph:
“Throwing the responsibility back to the court — here, the invitation to review 11,000 pages of discovery for privilege en camera — is almost never a good move. They had to know this was their last ditch effort.”
The case appears to be back on track now. Discovery should be concluded by the end of April, and unless there’s another unforeseen delay or a settlement, there is no reason the jury trial should not begin as scheduled on July 6, 2020 in Miami Division before Judge Bloom. “Whether the trial date will stick depends more on COVID-19 than it does on the parties,” said Gottlieb.
Meanwhile, if Wright fails to produce the documents requested of him, Kleiman’s team will likely ask for adverse inferences to be drawn, but if produced, the documents will prove their point about Wright, “and with this litigation’s history, it seems likely that Judge Bloom would consider that request favorably,” Gottlieb added.
Does the recent discovery order offer any hints on how the case might play out? Matthew Kohen, co-chair of law firm Carlton Fields’ digital currency and blockchain practice, told Cointelegraph, “Any time there’s an allegation of forged evidence or perjured testimony — that’s a significant thing.” He then added, “It happens on TV a lot, but it’s not common in the real world.” That said, Bloom’s discovery order was mostly “business as usual.” She basically stuck to the facts of the case and engaged in a calm discussion of evidentiary standards and practices.
So, should one expect the case to go to trial in July as scheduled? Kohen noted that, “The case has been hotly contested on both sides up till now, and one or both sides may be set on having their day in court.” But most civil lawsuits don’t go to trial — they are settled beforehand — and that still can’t be ruled out here.
“Covid-19 could bring the case to a grinding halt,” added Kohen. Come July, the Florida court will have difficulty convening a jury if the state is still in lockdown. Some have suggested that the plaintiff’s strategy all along has been to seek a settlement. This is because there’s an inherent contradiction in this case.
“It appears obvious that Kleiman’s legal team does not believe Wright to be Satoshi,” wrote attorney Daniel Kelman, and their legal strategy seems to paint Wright as untrustworthy. They’ve called into account the existence of the blind trust that supposedly holds the 1.1 million Bitcoins. “On its face this is a somewhat peculiar strategy since Kleiman’s claim to damages largely disappears if the billions of USD worth of Bitcoin never existed and was just made up by Wright.”
What’s really going on? “I believe the real strategy pursued by Kleiman’s legal team may be to seek a confidential settlement from Wright for far less than the billions sought in court,” Kelman wrote.
“The plaintiffs are engaged in a delicate balancing act,” Kohen told Cointelegraph. “The whole case is premised on Wright being Satoshi,” or at least Wright having a plausibly close relationship to Nakamoto and the BTC he mined in 2009 and 2010, but meanwhile, the plaintiff’s lawyers are working hard to break down Wright’s credibility:
“If they knock [Wright’s] credibility down too far, though, it could have unintended consequences in how a judge or jury views the claim. At some level, a judge or jury needs to draw the conclusion that Wright actually had or has control over the Bitcoin at issue in order to believe the plaintiff’s allegations.”
Moreover, attorneys are required to advocate for their client’s position, but rules prohibit them from advancing known falsehoods before the federal courts, said Kohen. “Technically, you don’t have to believe your client, you just can’t say things that you, as the lawyer, know to be false.”
The Case’s Larger Significance
Given that the case may finally be heading toward resolution, is there anything of a lasting and significant nature that one can draw from Kleiman v. Wright? Some attorneys say the case may set some legal precedents — even though it is playing out in a district court rather than a higher tribunal such as an appeals court — particularly with regard to the somewhat arcane legal issue of conversion.
As noted by the court, “Conversion is an unauthorized act that deprives a person of his [personal, not real] property permanently or for an indefinite time.” The Kleiman estate alleges that Wright “converted” at least 300,000 Bitcoin upon David Kleiman’s death. The question of whether Bitcoin is considered “money” for the purposes of a claim of conversion in a civil context — or personal property — is still unsettled, but the Florida district court allowed the conversion claim to go forward anyway.
“Courts usually consider personal property to be non-fungible,” Kohen told Cointelegraph. BTC, by contrast, might be considered fungible, like money, but maybe not. “Given Bitcoin’s unique UTXO model, there theoretically might be a better argument for why Bitcoin can be converted as opposed to something like Ether.” Discussing Kleiman v. Wright in a Medium blog, attorney Stephen Palley, citing Carlton Fields attorney Drew Hinkes, noted:
“Under Florida law, even if Bitcoin is money, if you can identify the UTXOs, you can probably make out a claim for conversion. So … maybe it doesn’t matter if bitcoin is or isn’t money. This lawsuit involves a substantial dispute and will be allowed to go forward. I’m confident we will see more caselaw and more precedent from it.”
Kohen believes that the conversion issue is interesting, since it is unclear whether BTC is more like money in a bank account or a personal property like a rare painting, adding: “One can convert a rare painting, but perhaps not $500 worth of funds in a bank account otherwise containing $100,000, because the allegedly stolen $500 can’t be separated.”
However, this is just a district court, so its findings on conversion or other matters like Shamir’s Secret Sharing algorithm — which can divide a private encryption key into multiple parts and is claimed to be inhibiting access to Wright’s BTC — would just be binding in Florida. But this is all so new that the court’s decision, should it come, could still have precedential effect, Kohen told Cointelegraph.
“The Saga Continues”
Not all are convinced of Kleiman v. Wright’s lasting impact, as Gottlieb said: “I don’t see this case as being terribly important to the industry. The mystery of ‘Who is Satoshi?’ is indeed intriguing, but I don’t think anyone thinks Craig Wright is Satoshi (except for maybe Craig Wright).” Nobody expects this case to solve that mystery, adding:
“If anything, the most important lesson to draw from this case is that you always have to play it straight in litigation, because while good judges will always bend over backward to ensure that the parties’ due process rights are observed, and so will give them some latitude, playing games with a federal judge — even if ‘only’ about discovery issues — is destined to end poorly.”
Regarding Judge Bloom’s April 13 discovery order, Patrick noted that with yet another defendant’s legal arguments eviscerated and a new April 17 deadline to produce the documents, “The saga continues.”
The case has become something akin to an engrossing Netflix series. As Kohen observed, “Millions of people are involved in how this works out,” particularly in finding out the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. “They have an emotional stake in this.”
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