Self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator Craig Wright has allegedly provided fabricated court documents to prove a trust deed with his plaintiffs, as seen from documents revealed by trial lawyer Stephen Palley on Twitter on July 3.
According to Palley, the self-styled Satoshi Nakamoto has failed to prove his case by presenting court documents that Palley alleges to be fake, as they contain multiple chronological discrepancies.
Among the exhibits filed with the District Court for the Florida Southern District on July 3, there is a document submitted as proof of cooperation between Wright and the now-deceased David Kleiman, whose lawyers filed the case against Wright in February 2018. Kleiman’s lawyers accuse Wright of stealing hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin — at press time valued at over $5 billion — after Kleiman’s death in April 2013.
While the presented deed of trust document is ostensibly dated Oct. 23, 2012, the metadata of the file indicates that the document was actually created after the death of Kleiman, as Palley found. The trust document apparently uses a 2015 copyright notice related to Calibri, the Microsoft Word font, indicating that the document could not be from earlier.
Alleged falsification of trust deed documents by Craig Wright. Source: Stephen Palley
Following the apparent accusation of Wright for forging the court documents, Palley wrote:
In late June, Wright declared that he cannot comply with a court order to provide a list of all his early bitcoin addresses, claiming that he gave a key piece of information regarding the funds and wallets to Kleiman before his death.
Calvin Ayre Falsely Claims Court Ruled Craig Wright Invented Bitcoin
Bitcoin SV (BSV) proponent Calvin Ayre has come under fire once again after erroneously claiming that a court ruled Craig Wright created Bitcoin (BTC).
Ayre: Judge Just Ruled Wright Created Bitcoin
In a tweet on Aug. 28, Ayre said the judge presiding over Wright’s recent court case decided he was Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
“Its nice timing to be out at the same time as Craig gets the Satoshi coins out of tulip trust. Also good timing with Judge just ruling Craig is Satoshi,” the tweet stated.
Wright was in court over alleged theft of $10 billion worth of BTC. The case concluded this week, with Wright now obliged to pay the plaintiff, the estate of former business partner Dave Kleiman, half of the fortune.
Both Wright and Ayre tout BSV as the true version of Bitcoin, and have tirelessly promoted the cryptocurrency, which has faced multiple technical and publicity difficulties in its 10-month history.
No Basis In Official Judgment
Following Wright’s downfall, Ayre remained an increasingly lone voice supporting him, but his latest claims were met by immediate pushback.
Twitter users referenced the text of the court judgment, which emphatically denies making a ruling over whether Wright is or is not Nakamoto. The text reads:
“First, the Court is not required to decide, and does not decide, whether Defendant Dr. Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of the Bitcoin cybercurrency. ”
It is thus unclear how Ayre arrived at his claim, which he made while advertising an upcoming book about Wright’s recent difficulties.
As Cointelegraph reported, questions now focus on how markets will cope with a $2 billion tax bill for Wright’s penalty.
Separate speculation focuses on Wright’s ability to pay at all, and if he has access to the private keys to the 500,000 BTC stash. The court has accepted Wright’s claim that he had access to the coins, with the document noting:
“The Court also is not required to decide, and does not decide, how much bitcoin, if any, Dr. Wright controls today. […] the Court accepts Dr. Wright’s representation that he controlled (directly or indirectly) some bitcoin on December 31, 2013, and that he continues to control some today.”
Kleiman Files — Craig Wright Controversy Gets Complicated
With each passing day, Craig S. Wright’s reputation continues to take a bigger beating. This time around, a Florida court has found the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin (BTC) to be guilty of not only submitting false documents as part of an earlier testimony but also lying about a legal dispute (related to the estate of his former partner, David Kleiman) to the United States justice system.
The presiding judge, Bruce Reinhart, concluded the latest hearing by ordering Wright to surrender more than $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency in favor of Kleiman’s estate. The assets in question comprise of a whopping 500K BTC as well as half of all the intellectual property that has ever been created by Wright. Moreover, Wright has been ordered by Judge Reinhart to turn over documents in which it is claimed that he had unlawfully seized digital assets from Kleiman.
It now remains to be seen whether Wright is able to comply with the order and actually deliver the BTC to Kleiman’s estate. There is a doubt that arises here because Wright has stated in his latest testimony that he is not aware of where the crypto in question is being stored, nor is he absolutely sure if he even has access to any of these external digital storage entities.
Satoshi identity still a mystery?
Wright has been claiming for a long time that he is, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto — the pseudonymous author of Bitcoin’s source code and its white paper, a document that lays out the core design for the currency’s digital ecosystem.
In recent times, when called a fraud, Wright has resorted to suing all those who disagree with the notion that he is the mastermind behind Bitcoin. And even though all of his lawsuits have amounted to almost nothing in the end, the people who have publicly showcased their support for Wright over the years seem to be disappearing rapidly.
In addition to this, a number of established crypto experts and enthusiasts seem to be of the opinion that Wright’s recent submission of false documents to the Florida court could be the final straw as far as his “I am Satoshi” claims go. Cointelegraph reached out to Craig Russo, a crypto investor and owner of Peer — a Boston-based startup behind the popular media outlet SludgeFeed, to get a better understanding of the matter. Russo believes that Wright needs to provide more tangible evidence in order to support his outlandish claims, saying:
“The false documents definitely do not help his credibility. I think the mystery of who exactly made up “Satoshi” will continue to unravel into the future.”
Similarly, Christopher Inks, the founder and CEO of TexasWest Capital — a crypto research trading firm — also believes that, while there is a slim possibility that Wright might be Satoshi, he is making his claims harder to believe — especially with all of the recent stories that have emerged in relation to him. Inks added in a statement to Cointelegraph:
“There is no doubt that he is a polarizing individual and that may simply be the result of his intelligence. Many highly intelligent people have difficulty interacting in a positive way with everyone else. But should people believe him just because he says so?”
Will The Drama Hurt The Market?
Wright is of the belief that in the wake of the aforementioned court ruling, the crypto market could soon be flooded with billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin. However, as mentioned earlier, it appears as though Wright might not have access to the private keys associated with the various digital wallets containing the BTC.
In this regard, it is worth recalling that in an earlier testimony, Wright had said that he had passed on a key piece of information to Kleiman before his demise back in 2013. As a result of his death, Wright thinks it will be extremely hard for him (or anyone else for that matter) to track down the storage entities holding the crypto. With that being said, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin did concede the following in a recent email to his spokesperson, Ed Pownall:
“The courts ruled that Ira (Kleiman, brother of Dave Kleiman) inherited those billions. Now he has to pay estate tax on that if he wants it.”
As a result of these recent developments, the market at large is now replete with FUD related to an impending market crash that might happen because of BTC being liquidated or moved around.
Cointelegraph has reached out to CryptoYoda, an independent crypto analyst and trader, with over 200K followers on Twitter. In regard to the matter, he stated that he is highly doubtful that Wright really has access to the legacy coins, so all of the lingering concerns regarding a potential sell-off can be set aside for the time being.
However, he did add that the situation will need to be immediately reevaluated if Wright or any other third-party enters the private key associated with the legacy wallet. This, in CryptoYoda’s opinion, will most likely not be the case anytime in the near future. He added:
“As long as no coins are being moved, there is no reason to speculate about a potential selloff imho. Should coins from the legacy wallet move eventually, then we at least have proper grounds for discussion.”
However, since Judge Reinhart passed his verdict a few days back, Bitcoin’s price has witnessed some serious negative action (particularly on Aug. 29).
Over the course of the past 24 hours, the price of a single BTC has slid from $10,251 to briefly dipping under $9,400 — with the market sentiment at large appearing to be bearish. Providing his insights on the issue, Russo pointed out:
“I think anytime that a whale investor needs to unload Bitcoin in the open market, for whatever reason, it adds a downward pressure on price. However, I think the risk is relatively low that Wright actually has access to those coins but savvy investors should definitely monitor the situation.”
Additionally, Cointelegraph also got in touch with Daniel Kelman — a New York-based lawyer, creditor of Mt. Gox. In his opinion, only Bitcoin SV (BSV) — a digital currency that has Wright as its most vociferous proponent — will be affected by these recent developments, with traders most likely dumping the asset in the near future.
“I don’t see a reason for it to affect the rest of the market, possibly sell orders of BSV into other cryptos push other prices higher. Wright doesn’t have a stack of BTC to sell off, which the market now knows for sure.”
Looking Ahead… What Happens Now?
While there seems to be a lot of drama surrounding the Kleiman-Wright case right now, it appears as though a lot of this talk is confined primarily to the realm of social media. In this regard, the upcoming events (such as the launch of Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures products as well as other institutional investment offerings) are more likely to have a bigger impact on the cryptosphere.
In fact, Russo sees the market continuing its consolidation period for the foreseeable future, despite many people calling for Bitcoin to fill the CME futures gap at around $8,500. According to Russo, “My guess is that the number either gets front-ran or we fall rapidly through it to find support below.”
On the subject of Wright’s future obligations and what happens to him next (from a legal standpoint), Kelman stated unequivocally that there absolutely exists a possibility of the Australian national going to jail for his actions. In his opinion, even though Judge Reinhart did not find Wright’s conduct being at the level of criminal contempt, he ended his order by stating:
“Dr. Wright intentionally submitted fraudulent documents to the Court, obstructed a judicial proceeding, and gave perjurious testimony.”
In layman’s terms, Reinhart basically called Wright a fraud. It now remains to be seen whether he refers the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office, which would see a new case being initiated against the maligned computer scientist. Expounding his thoughts on the matter, Kelman added:
“Reinhart may now refer the matter to the US Attorney’s office and a case can be brought against Wright from there. Federal judges choose their words carefully. Using words like ‘perjurious testimony’ and ‘intentionally submitting fraudulent documents’ indicates how serious this is, those are felonies. I’d be surprised if this isn’t followed up on by prosecutors.“
It now remains to be seen how retail trader fears of a rumored $2 billion crypto dump (i.e., because of a potential 40% tax on the 500K BTC in question) could play out. On top of that, it will also be interesting to see how Kleiman’s estate seeks to limit their incoming tax hit if indeed it gets hold of the Bitcoins. In this regard, one option could be that the tax be paid out in installments — which would be extremely advantageous for the estate from an economic standpoint — especially if Bitcoin’s value were to continue surging over the next few years.
Craig Wright’s Hidden Treasures: Court Order To Unlock The Tulip Trust
Since early 2018, Craig Wright, a controversial Australian computer scientist and tech entrepreneur, has been the defendant in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of Dave Kleiman, Wright’s late business partner. The claim alleged that following Kleiman’s death in 2013, Wright unlawfully appropriated more than a million Bitcoin (BTC) that the duo had mined jointly in the early years of the cryptocurrency, as well as some related intellectual property. After a recent resolution, the case seems to be decided — although many important questions remain unanswered.
Missing Keys And Bonded Couriers
In late August, after months of litigation, Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida ruled in favor of the Kleiman estate, which is represented by Dave’s brother Ira.
In his decision, Reinhart reproached Wright, saying that “Dr. Wright’s demeanor did not impress me as someone who was telling the truth,” and also admonished the defendant for engaging in a “willful and bad faith pattern of obstructive behavior, including submitting incomplete or deceptive pleadings, filing a false declaration, knowingly producing a fraudulent trust document, and giving perjurious testimony at the evidentiary hearing.”
The judge didn’t buy Wright’s version of the story. The Australian claimed that the partnership between Dave Kleiman and himself, acting under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, was the entity responsible for inventing Bitcoin. Having realized at some point that digital currency had come to be used predominantly for funding illicit activity, Wright decided to distance himself from the project.
Wright maintains that he and Kleiman put some 1 million BTC they’d mined together into what they called the “Tulip Trust,” a storage unit secured by the two men’s cryptographic signatures.
Although Wright lost access to the funds when Kleiman died, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto says that the missing keys needed to unlock the trust will be somehow delivered to him by a bonded courier. The distrustful judge responded with a literary allusion: “Apparently, dead men tell no tales, but they (perhaps) send bonded couriers.”
Wright and his counsels pledged to challenge the order, although they had to request a two-week extension of the time afforded to file the motion. At the same time, Wright argued that, should Ira end up with half of the Tulip Trust, he will need to sell a huge chunk of it in order to be able to pay a 40% estate tax, which would inevitably tank the Bitcoin market.
The markets, however, didn’t seem particularly intimidated, as no major price movements occurred in the days following Wright’s statement. Ryan Selkis, CEO of crypto research firm Messari, told Bloomberg he was not concerned about Wright transferring BTC to Ira Kleiman because he didn’t think Wright had any to transfer. RT host Max Keiser even predicted that the realization of Wright lacking the money he is ordered to pay would drive BTC price steeply upward.
On Sept. 17, both sides filed a joint motion to extend all discovery and case deadlines by 30 more days to facilitate “good faith settlement discussions” in which they have stated to be engaged. The parties claim in the document that they are currently finalizing “all relevant terms,” and that pushing back all the deadlines — including the trial — would help them reach a final, binding settlement agreement.
Some crypto and tech publications were quick to report that the court ordered Wright to pay over $5 billion worth of Bitcoin to Keliman’s estate, which is, in fact, not exactly what Reinhart had ruled. Indeed, Reinhart’s order establishes that all Bitcoin mined by the Kleiman-Wright partnership between 2009 and 2013 — as well as whatever Bitcoin-related intellectual property the duo had produced throughout the same period — belongs to Wright and Kleiman’s heirs in equal parts.
However, the judge never produced a definitive determination on how much Bitcoin is to be divvied up or what specific intellectual property the ruling applies to. This does not come across as surprising, given that the court has been unable to establish these details to date.
There are two reasons why the “$5 billion” language has gained so much traction in the cryptosphere. One is that the original claim filed with the U.S. District Court mentioned “hundreds of thousands of bitcoin,” the ownership of which was contested. When the claim was filed in 2018, the valuation of Kleiman’s half of the alleged Tulip Trust exceeded $5 billion, which remains its value today. What helped to further engrave the figure in the crypto community’s collective mind is Wright’s interview to Modern Consensus.
In a conversation with an overly sympathetic interviewer, Wright stated: “The judge ordered me to send just under 500,000 BTC over to Ira. Let’s see what it does to the market. I wouldn’t have tanked the market. I’m nice.” He mentioned the figure “5 billion” several times, even complaining how the newfound knowledge of their family’s enormous wealth would ruin his children’s lives.
Granted, it is extremely unlikely that any litigation of this kind would passingly establish the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. The judge in the present case explicitly stated: “First, the Court is not required to decide, and does not decide, whether Defendant Dr. Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of the Bitcoin cybercurrency.” Yet, Wright seems to be leveraging the case to promote his “I am Satoshi” narrative.
It is a widespread belief that the massive pool of Bitcoin that was mined in 2009 and 2010 and has since remained dormant belongs to the founding father of cryptocurrency. The amount of digital currency stored in the Tulip Trust (1.1 million BTC) coupled with Wright’s description of the timeline of its emergence loosely correspond with the semi-mythical story of the original whale stash. According to crypto researcher Sergio Lerner, some 980,000 of the first Bitcoins to be mined can be traced back to a single mining entity, and they have never been moved.
The court’s success in linking Wright’s identity to the original trove of more than a million digital coins would effectively validate him as the inventor of Bitcoin. It would also mean that Wright has to pay some $5 billion to Ira Kleiman — who, in turn, would have to flood the market with a significant share of the Bitcoin obtained in order to pay a 40% estate tax.
Wright’s alleged, temporary lack of access to the so-called “Satoshi funds” is his excuse for why he still hasn‘t shown the world this solid evidence to support his claims and why he has yet been unable to comply with the court order. It is shaky ground indeed, and Wright can’t stay there forever.
What Comes Next
It looks like the case has been effectively decided on its merits: Wright will owe Dave Kleiman’s estate half of what they jointly produced. Even though Wright’s side has pledged to appeal the latest ruling, it seems all but impossible that any judge would ever overturn it without shocking new evidence. As blockchain lawyer Stephen Palley shared with the Financial Times: “I view this case as being over. When you have two federal judges that have said you’re a ducking [sic] liar, you’re not going to win,” although he added that the case may still linger for six months to a year.
Many intriguing side developments, however, are likely to emerge in the coming months. A lot hinges on how much of Wright’s Bitcoin (if any at all) officials will be able to discover. At this point, since the defendant failed to produce any BTC addresses (save for a few unverified ones that were produced under a protective order), the court does not possess much information on his assets.
As the civil process ensues, there will likely be more discovery requests — and even if Wright’s counsels manage to buy some time appealing the decision, the funds locked up in the Tulip Trust should finally become available in early 2020, according to Wright himself.
Once the Bitcoin jointly mined by Wright and Kleiman is located, the Australian will have to give up half of it to his late business partner’s estate. If he refuses to honor the court order, Wright may face some tangible consequences, as Layla Tabatabaie, senior consultant at the blockchain PR firm Wachsman, stated to Cointelegraph:
“Wright would be found in contempt of court, and the court may impose imprisonment or monetary fines in fiat currency against him. Being held in civil contempt of court could actually be worse than being held in criminal contempt, because you aren’t afforded the same constitutional rights as a criminal defendant. Barring any egregious actions by Wright, it is far more likely that the punishment would begin with mounting monetary fines.”
In other words, failing to produce the Bitcoin addresses in which his and Kleiman’s funds are stored will, at some point, become costly for Wright.
Another consequential detail that makes this case interesting to follow and could render it a landmark case for the crypto industry is how exactly the court will go about calculating the amount of money to be paid to the plaintiff and whether repayment will be in coin or fiat.
One way to look for directions on what could happen is to examine the comparable cases that involve digital securities. The Securities
and Exchange Commission has, on several occasions, ordered rescission to wronged crypto investors as part of a securities settlement. However, according to Dror Futter, a partner at law firm Rimon P.C., the regulator has not addressed this question.
So, as there is no guidance as to how such payouts are to be executed — whether in fiat or crypto, and if in crypto, at what exchange rate — the next few months should bring more certainty to the many undefined variables in this equation.
Craig Wright Says He Has No Funds For Settlement In Kleiman Case
The latest court documents in the David Kleinman versus Craig Wright case filed on Nov. 1 reveal that Wright — the self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto — informed the plaintiff that he could not finance a 500,000 BTC ($4.5 billion) settlement.
Given that the case was apparently reaching a resolution with the agreement, the plaintiff stopped active litigation and focused on settlement, joining Wright’s requests to extend the deadline into late October. Then Wright allegedly broke the settlement agreement:
“On October 30, without any advance notice, Plaintiffs were informed Craig could no longer finance the settlement and was ‘breaking’ the non-binding settlement agreement.”
The given document is the plaintiff’s expedited motion to depose out of state witness. The deposition explains that in September the plaintiffs discussed a settlement with Wright, noting that his claims implied he had the means to cover the costs.
A Crucial Deposition
Therefore, because Wright broke the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs resumed preparing for a trial.
As part of the process, they contacted the chief financial officer of Wright’s companies in 2013 and 2012, James Wilson, “during which Dave was alive and Craig alleges he sold Dave interest in his companies in exchange for a fortune of Bitcoin.”
On Oct. 31, Wilson told the council that he will be in the United States, in Washington D.C., and available for testimony on Nov. 8. The defense counsel, on the other hand, informed that they were not intentioned to consent to the deposition at the aforementioned date. The plaintiff of the document explains:
“Under the Local Rules of this District, parties must have 7-days notice for a deposition in Florida, but 14-days notice for an out of state deposition.”
For this reason, the plaintiff requested that the defendant and Wilson are given permission to attend the meeting via video conference and that the deposition is completed in under 14 days — earlier than required by local rules depending on court approval.
Therefore, the Plaintiffs “respectfully request that the Court allow them to depose Mr. Wilson on November 8, 2019 in Washington D.C. on condition they provide Defense counsel with the ability to attend the deposition via video link,” the document reads.
As Cointelegraph reported in mid-October, Wright has asserted that Satoshi Nakamoto, the author of the Bitcoin white paper, plagiarized him.
According to a court document filed in the Southern District of Florida Oct. 30, Wright pulled out of the settlement agreement in which he would forfeit half his intellectual property and bitcoin mined prior to 2014. With the settlement broken, trial motions are now back on.
The document was filed by Kleiman’s counsel to set a date to depose an out-of-state witness.
Ira Kleiman brought the charges against Wright in 2018 on behalf of his deceased brother’s estate. Kleiman alleges Wright manipulated business documents, emails and other correspondence to defraud the estate.
Wright was sanctioned in late August, after being found in contempt of court by Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart for failing to disclose a complete list of his bitcoin addresses, reportedly amounting to 1.1 million bitcoin.
During the hearing, Wright claimed his bitcoin was inaccessible due to his former business partner David Kleiman’s death as well as a complicated encryption scheme. The arguments were found to be inconsistent and in bad faith.
“These discussions began at Craig’s request and due to the fact that Craig represented he had the means to finance a settlement,” Velvel Freedman, member of the prosecution and partner at Roche Freedman, said in the filing.
Wright allegedly reneged on the non-binding agreement “without notice.”
Earlier, just days after the sanction was levied, Wright requested additional time to challenge the judge’s court order due to the approach of Hurricane Dorian.
Kleiman is represented by Kyle Roche and Velvel Freedman of Roche Freedman LLP, while Wright is represented by Rivero Mestre LLP.
The trial date is set for March 30, 2020.
Tether Supports Peter McCormack’s Defense Against Craig Wright.
Leading stablecoin operator Tether has announced it will support crypto podcaster Peter McCormack in a lawsuit against self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator Craig Wright.
General counsel for Tether and cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, Stuart Hoegner, revealed on Nov. 8 that Tether also rejects Wright’s claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto. He explained:
“Wright has had myriad opportunities to prove that he is Satoshi and has not definitively done so.”
As Cointelegraph reported in April, Bitcoin SV (BSV) proponent Craig Wright filed a libel claim against McCormack over him accusing Wright of fraud and falsely claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. The move by Wright’s legal team also resulted in Binance delisting BSV in April alongside other exchanges including Kraken and Shapeshift.
Tether joins the “long game” against Wright
Hoegner says that Tether “stands behind” McCormack in his defense against Wright. Hoegner suggests that the support provided goes beyond just words, though the lawyer did not clarify exactly what kind of support McCormack will receive:
“Litigation can be drawn-out and expensive, but we are committed to the long game. We admire Peter’s conviction and are humbled to support his defense against what we see as frivolous and vexatious litigation.”
Wright is also involved in other legal disputes albeit as defendant in another legal case filed by former business partner David Kleinman. As Cointelegraph reported, court documents filed on Nov. 1 revealed that Wright could not finance a 500,000 BTC ($4.4 billion) settlement in the case.
Craig Wright Reveals Document Claiming Origin of Satoshi Nakamoto Name
Self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator Craig Wright, showed what he claims is a document that explains the origins of the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym.
In an interview published by industry news outlet Modern Consensus on Dec. 19, Wright has shown to his interviewer a document representing an article from digital database of an academic journals JSTOR, dated Jan. 5, 2008.
The article is about a person named Tominaga Nakamoto, who lived between 1715 and 1746 in Japan. The document also contained the following handwritten notes:
“Nakamoto is the Japanese Adam Smith. Honest Ledger + Micro Cash. Satoshi is Intelligent History. Not too hard.”
Nakamoto: The Japanese Adam Smith
According to Wright, he has chosen the name Nakamoto in honor of Tominaga Nakamoto. The handwritten note compares him to Adam Smith, who is by many regarded as the father of modern economics. When asked whether Nakamoto’s economic ideas were the reason why he has chosen his name, he answered:
“In part, yes. He wrote about money and honest money and the rational nature of things. The shogun [feudal ruler] at the time was in financial crisis, and economic austerity. […] I like the description of him, and I got into his brother, Tōka. ‘Nakamoto was upright and quiet but impatient in character’ and I thought: ‘That sounds like me.’”
When it comes to the first word of the pseudonym, Satoshi, Wright says it means “intelligent learning.” This, he explained, refers to one having access to the knowledge conquered by his ancestors.
While Wright claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, in November he also informed the plaintiff that he could not finance a 500,000 BTC ($3.7 billion) settlement in the case that the Kleiman estate initiated against him. Dave Kleiman was a cyber-security expert, whom many believe to have been one of the first developers behind the Bitcoin and blockchain technology who died in April 2013.
Kleiman’s estate, led by David’s brother Ira Kleinman initiated the case in February last year, accusing Wright of stealing hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins — worth over $5 billion — after the developer’s death.
Satoshi Nakamoto is known to have mined the origin blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain, the so-called Satoshi blocks and consequently should own a significant number of coins on his/her address.
Crypto Experts To Testify At Craig Wright’s $8 Billion Bitcoin Lawsuit
Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos and novelist Andrew O’Hagan are to be deposed in the court case.
Two well-known crypto personalities are about to testify in the court case against self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright (and one million BTC he allegedly holds).
Andreas Antonopoulos, crypto evangelist and author of Mastering Bitcoin, is expected to testify today while novelist Andrew O’Hagan, author of “The Satoshi Affair,” is scheduled for January 15—sandwiched between two days of Wright’s own testimony.
Wright is being sued by the estate of Dave Kleiman, a computer forensics expert who was involved in the early days of Bitcoin. The lawsuit alleges that Wright and Kleiman partnered up to form a Bitcoin mining company called W&K Info Defense Research LLC in 2011—which ended with Wright “defrauding” Kleiman of 1.1 million bitcoin, worth more than $10 billion when the suit was filed in February 2018. The stash is currently worth $8.7 billion.
In the past, O’Hagan had spent some time with Wright when writing his book, which is dedicated to researching the identity of Bitcoin’s mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto and whether Wright has any real claim to this title.
In 2016, at the time of publishing, the work was widely criticized by the crypto community, with O’Hagan’s alleged superficial understanding of the blockchain technology cited as one of its main shortcomings.
Antonopoulos is listed as an expert on the plaintiff’s (brother and heirs of late David Kleiman, one of the alleged Bitcoin creators) side, so he will be arguing against Wright.
US Judge Rules That Craig Wright Won’t Forfeit Bitcoin In Kleiman Case
A United States District Judge has ruled that a previous sanction ordering Craig Wright to give up half of his Bitcoins to the estate of Dave Kleiman will not stand.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart’s delivered the sanction ruling last August in the long-standing court battle over an alleged 1.1 million Bitcoins which were mined by Wright and Kleiman in partnership in the early days of Bitcoin, shortly after Wright claims he invented it.
According to court documents filed with a U.S. district court in Florida on Jan. 10, Judge Beth Bloom ruled that Reinhart’s earlier sanction order was not proper.
Spurious claims earned Wright a hefty fine
As Cointelegraph reported, in August 2019, Reinhart ruled that Wright had perjured himself by presenting falsified documents, and recommended that he hand over 50% of the over 1 million Bitcoin he allegedly mined with Kleiman.
However, the latest ruling states that this sanction was not proper, as the deemed facts (that Wright had an equal partnership with Kleiman) do not specifically relate to the discovery issue (a list of Wright’s Bitcoin holdings).
Moreover, even if the court did accept the deemed facts, this discovery abuse would remain “uncured,” as the court still does not know how much Bitcoin Wright owns.
Judge Bloom did conclude, however, that Wright had not made a good faith effort to comply with discovery orders and should still pay the Kleiman estate’s attorney fees.
The Kleiman estate filed a motion requesting legal costs of $658,000 in November last year. This led Wright to immediately respond with a counter-motion, asking for this to be thrown out as both the hours worked and hourly rate were “unreasonable.”
‘Mysterious’ Courier To Shine A Light On Bitcoin Holdings
Wright is not off the hook regarding the Bitcoin yet though. The judge ordered that Wright has until Feb. 3, 2019, to inform the court if a “mysterious bonded courier” arrives with the final key slice so that he can access his Bitcoin holdings.
The judge questioned the plausibility of Wright’s previous assertion that this courier would deliver the slice by January 2020. However, she did say that the court should indulge him the opportunity.
Bitcoin SV Prices Soar After Craig Wright Claims Access To A Bitcoin Fortune
Craig Wright, the polarizing figure who may or may not be Satoshi Nakamoto, is today telling the court that he has received the keys to access an $8.9 billion crypto fortune called the Tulip Trust.
Some background on what that means: Wright was a business partner to one David Kleiman, and they mined a lot of Bitcoin together back when that was an easier thing to do. The pair ended up with 1.1 million Bitcoin in their custody, and that stash is known as the “Tulip Trust” in reference to the tulip bubble that took the Netherlands by storm in the 17th century.
Kleiman passed away in 2013, and the law is clear that half of the business’ assets should go to Kleiman’s estate. But this never happened, so Kleiman’s surviving brother is suing Wright for the estate’s share.
A Complicated And Contentious Court Case
A 2015 investigation pointed to Wright and Kleiman as the possible inventors of Bitcoin, and reporters surfaced a draft of a contract that described the existence of the trust and effectively grants all of it to Wright. This moved David Kleiman’s brother Ira to launch the suit in February 2018.
It was a long and drawn out process for the legal system to identify where Wright was storing his crypto assets, and Wright was ultimately found in contempt of court last year for failing to supply a list of any BTC holdings he acquired before December 31, 2013. Wright then received a court order on January 10, 2020 calling for him to effectively open the kimono on the Tulip Trust.
He was granted until February 3, 2020 to provide the keys to the Tulip Trust on the rationale that the keys needed to be delivered by a bonded courier sometime in January.
It Appears The Keys Have Arrived
Wright has now filed paperwork demonstrating his compliance with the court order:
Dr. Wright notifies the Court that a third party has provided the necessary information and key slice to unlock the encrypted file, and Dr. Wright has produced a list of his bitcoin holdings, as ordered by the Magistrate Judge, to plaintiffs today.
This is a bombshell among bombshells if it’s actually true. It could easily help Wright continue his “I’m Satoshi” schtick and win him some converts.
But if it’s less than totally true, it would only be the latest weird, reality-bending twist in Wright’s already surreal and controversial story.
In any case, that’s what Wright told courts today: he now has access to billions in crypto.
Bitcoin SV Soars On The News
Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, a Wright-led fork of Bitcoin Cash that purports to more closely adhere to the anonymous Bitcoin creator’s true ideas about cryptocurrency, surged today. The currency opened the day’s trading at $193.99 and rose as high as $447.13 before settling around $388.
With the day’s gains approaching 100%, this has some calling Wright’s tactics a straight-up exit scam.
Lawyer Admits Craig Wright Has No Private Keys
Controversial altcoin Bitcoin SV (BSV) has crashed 17% overnight after its main proponent failed to prove he has access to $9 billion in Bitcoin (BTC).
Data from Coin360 and Cointelegraph Markets confirmed a difficult 24 hours for BSV holders, who saw huge gains over the past week as Craig Wright’s court case delivered fresh revelations.
Wright Evidence “Did Not Include” BTC keys
After Wright had promised to prove he was the controller of funds linked to Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, BSV — the hard fork of BTC he claims is the “real” Bitcoin — shot up to all-time highs of $436.
In the event, Wright disappointed. After what he described as a “bonded courier” delivered evidence in the multimillion-dollar legal battle to confirm his identity, Wright’s lawyer subsequently confirmed it contained no private key information at all.
“The file that he’s received did not include private keys,” Andres Rivero told cryptocurrency news outlet Decrypt on Jan. 18.
Even before the information went public, BSV began descending from its highs to hit press-time levels of $262 — 40% below its Jan. 15 peak.
Bitcoin Cash Reclaims Market Cap
While BTC has sustained higher levels in recent days and weeks, BSV’s fortunes now appear inextricably tied to developments with Wright.
As Cointelegraph reported, the events triggered derision among online commentators, with memes involving fake BTC transactions circulating on social media.
BSV has now lost the position of fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, which it briefly took from fellow hard fork, Bitcoin Cash (BCH). By contrast, over the past 24 hours, BCH/USD gained 7%.
In the top twenty, only Dash (DASH) matched BSV for losses, shedding 15% after likewise experiencing sudden gains in January.
Interview: Craig Wright Still ‘99.9999%’ Sure That He’ll Get Access To BTC Fortune
Speaking with Cointelegraph’s video team on Jan. 20, Satoshi-claimant Craig Wright remained confident that he will get access to the Bitcoin fortune he famously claims to be locked up in the Tulip Trust.
Access to the Tulip Trust
Regarding the controversial Tulip Trust, and his ultimate ability to access his reported bitcoin fortune, Wright told Cointelegraph:
“I’m 99.9999 and a few more 9s percent certain that I will be taking control of my BTC and whatever else.”
Craig Wright is one of the more famous of the many people to claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous author (or authors) of Bitcoin’s 2008 whitepaper. Since February 2018, Wright has been locked in a court battle with the estate of David Kleiman, his deceased former partner. The case hinges on a fortune of a million Bitcoin — worth roughly $8 billion at press time.
The Missing Keys
Whether or not Wright can even access this fortune is a major sticking point of this case. This was most recently evident in major price fluctuations for Wright-promoted Bitcoin SV, which dropped by 18% on Jan. 18 upon news that documents Wright filed with the court contained keys, but only public keys. The private keys, he maintains, are still in the hands of the trust.
Wright said that he formed the trust “back when Bitcoin was not worth anything at all” as a prescient move to secure his prospective assets. When asked why he himself is not one of the trustees, he said:
“Because I’m smart enough not to be. Because then people could force me to actually move coins. You can take things from trustees. If it was mine, people could have seized assets from me.”
Current Bitcoin SV Activity
The convoluted script of the Kleiman v. Wright case has been followed by extreme turbulence in Bitcoin SV price. Wright was dismissive on the subject of the present market, calling it “basically a regurgitation of every stupid thing that’s happened.”
Craig Wright Court Saga Nears Judgment Day With More Questions Than Answers
It has been over a year since Australian computer scientist Craig Wright proclaimed himself as the inventor of Bitcoin (BTC), and the estate of his late business partner, Dave Kleiman, became clinched in litigation over the fruits of the duo’s collaboration in the inaugural years of the cryptocurrency era. The stakes include billions worth of Bitcoin as well as ownership of blockchain-related intellectual property.
Mainly because of what the magistrate judge overseeing the case called Wright’s “willful and bad faith pattern of obstructive behavior,” the pretrial process devolved into a messy barrage of mutual admonitions and complaints where even the most basic facts of the case — such as the amount and location of disputed funds — could not be clearly established.
The parties seemed on track to complete discovery by the court’s cutoff date of Jan. 21, and the trial was scheduled for March 30. But as the deadline crept closer, Wright’s legal team stepped up its game to stun the opposition with a series of massive blows that shook up the crypto markets and left team Kleiman scrambling to push back the trial date. Here’s what to make of last week’s erratic news.
Multiplication of Tulip Trusts
One of the case’s main puzzles revolves around the mysterious Tulip Trust — a stash of over 1 million BTC that Wright and Kleiman had supposedly mined jointly between 2009 and 2013. Up until late December 2019, facing court orders to disclose essential information about the trust, Wright maintained that he did not have a key for the list of the addresses that held deposited funds in an encrypted file.
The missing piece that would provide Wright with full access to the registry was supposed to arrive in January 2020 with a “bonded courier.” In a recent interview with Cointelegraph, Wright stated that he is 99.9999% sure that he will be in possession of the crypto soon.
On Dec. 31, without prior notice or attendant explanation, Wright began turning in hundreds of previously undisclosed documents for discovery, some of which related to the structure of the Tulip Trust. On Jan. 6, Kleiman’s lawyers received a third Tulip Trust document that ostensibly pointed to the existence of three separate trusts.
They motioned to seal it, basing their argument on certain parts of the document that contains confidential information. However, the judge later ordered that non-disclosure agreements should not stand in the way of discovery in the process.
Whether the Tulip Trust or trusts really exist, and whether Wright can exercise control over the enormous digital wealth purportedly stored in them, he has come to be seen as the ultimate test for his claim of being Satoshi Nakomoto.
On Jan. 10, as Cointelegraph reported, United States District Judge Beth Bloom issued a 23-page order questioning if “it is remotely plausible that the mysterious ‘bonded courier’ is going to arrive, yet alone that he will arrive in January 2020.” Yet, the judge agreed to wait until Feb. 3 — the first day after the end of January when the court will be open — for Wright to comply and unlock the trust. Essentially, this has become a hard deadline for him to prove that he has anything to do with the invention of Bitcoin.
A Mysterious Third Party
While proclaiming in his blog his staunch belief in law, Wright also noted that it is essential to test its bounds as society develops. Perhaps, he sees the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida as a venue to challenge the law for the greater good.
District Judge Bloom’s order enumerates multiple ways, in which the defendant “delayed and obstructed the discovery process” of the case, and notes how he “refused to give and interpret words in their very basic meanings, was combative, and became defensive when confronted with previous inconsistencies.” Combined with the opinion of Bruce Reinhart, another legal official in the case, this makes two federal judges essentially calling Wright a liar.
Indeed, it doesn’t take a law school degree to see how Wright has been exploiting the case to gain publicity and perpetuate his “I am Satoshi” narrative while maintaining enough ambiguity to keep it marginally plausible.
On Jan. 14, Wright’s team made perhaps its strongest move when they filed a short notice of compliance with the court order. All it said was that a “third party has provided the necessary information and key slice to unlock the encrypted file, and Dr. Wright has produced a list of his Bitcoin holdings.” The document provided no clarity on whether the “third party” is the long-awaited bonded courier.
Kleiman’s side received a list of 16,404 Bitcoin addresses. They immediately requested a continuation of the discovery cutoff, to reschedule the deposition of key witnesses and to extend the trial. They also asked the court to provide them with seven interrogatories — sets of written questions, to which the defendant will have to respond within a set time frame — regarding the affiliation of the alleged “bonded courier” and information that they had delivered.
Along with throwing some 20,000 new documents at plaintiffs shortly before the discovery deadline, Wright protested their motion by arguing that the requested “extensions of time and requests for additional unilateral discovery are additional unwarranted sanctions and are sought solely for the purpose of delay.”
The court, however, granted the extensions and honored the interrogatory requests. The new discovery cutoff was set to April 17, and the trial will be held in July 2020. Wright has won himself some breathing room for another few months.
Outside The Courtroom
If Wright’s strategy of cultivating ambiguity was successful in keeping several dozen qualified attorneys baffled for several months, the already confused crypto community was poised to become a boon for the big news. The scoop of him producing the Tulip Trust details exploded like a bombshell in this electrified space.
There is no way Wright did not foresee the markets reading the economical note of the unnamed third party as the announcement that the “bonded courier” had arrived. Most likely, that was the plan all along. Ample room for misinterpretation was already there.
“The necessary information and key slice to unlock the encrypted file” that the third party provided sounded a lot like Wright getting access to the Bitcoin stored in the coveted trust. What it really said was that he could now unlock the file with the list of public addresses allegedly linked to the stash.
Public addresses are the same as public keys — they need to be matched with private keys to provide access to the stored assets. Nowhere in the court documents did Wright nor his lawyers mention acquiring private keys to gain control of the coins — yet some immediate media reports were exact to this effect.
Coincidence or not, around the same time, a fake Whale Alerts tweet started making rounds, alleging that 1 million BTC departed Wright’s wallet heading toward an exchange. It soon emerged that the said transaction only involved 1,500 BTC, and the entity behind it was crypto exchange Bitfinex refilling its hot wallet.
The exuberance, however, took a real toll on the markets. Fueled by the news, the price of Bitcoin SV (BSV), Wright’s brainchild cryptocurrency allegedly reflecting the “true vision” behind the original Bitcoin, doubled within a day. Most of the gains, however, were quickly wiped out when a couple of days later, Wright’s attorney, Andres Rivero, confirmed to industry publication Decrypt that the information they had received did not include private keys.
In fact, Wright had announced the same thing a few days earlier when he admitted to CCN that Kleiman’s estate lawyers would find nothing in his latest submission to the court. To those who paid attention, the confession barely sounded like a punchline statement from a man who had just proved all his critics wrong.
In any case, it shouldn’t take much longer for the truth to come out if Wright is a crook or a genius performer who deliberately keeps crying wolf time and time again — only to come out as the real wolf when no one believes him anymore.
Volatility, Illiquidity Threaten BSV’s Newfound Position
Volatility in bitcoin SV (BSV) is raising concerns about the resilience and stability of the world’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, as ranked by CoinMarketCap.
On Jan. 14, at around 00:35 UTC, the price of BSV shot up 6 percent over a 10-minute period and 22 hours later, it was up a total of 139 percent from $196 to $458.
A sell-off quickly followed BSV’s rally at around 00:30 UTC on Jan. 15, with the price dropping from $458 to $278. According to some analysts, the cryptocurrency is plagued by controversy and poor liquidity due to shallow order book depth.
Research analyst at eToro, Simon Peters, said that when rumors surfaced that BSV founder Craig Wright received the “keys” to 1.1 million bitcoins (BTC) locked up in a fund known as the Tulip Trust, many in the crypto community anticipated Wright could dump a large proportion of his BTC holdings onto the market in favor of BSV.
The trust is said to be guarding pieces of the private keys necessary to unlock the bitcoin Wright and his former partner Dave Kleiman mined before 2014. Wright claims this is the $9.5 billion fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s founder.
“As it stands, a 300 percent move in a week is generally unsustainable,” Peters said of BSV.
Titled “Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision,” BSV has been embroiled in controversy since its early days, with major exchanges including Binance, Kraken and Shapeshift delisting the cryptocurrency , a move that has been contributing to increased volatility, Peters said.
“BSV is more vulnerable to major price swings due to a lack of depth of the order books in the smaller exchanges where it can be traded,” Peters said.
An order book refers to an electronic list of buy and sell orders for a specific security or financial instrument organized by price level. When there aren’t enough buyers or sellers on the books, illiquidity makes the assets more at risk to be manipulated by larger funds and investors.
BSV’s trading volume remains relatively thin compared to the others in the top 10 cryptocurrencies for the past 30 days. However, the standard deviation of returns — in other words, its volatility — has soared relative to the other nine leading cryptos. That signals that single orders in its shallow order books have a large impact on BSV’s price.
“Clearly the case,” said Alex Krüger, a prominent crypto trader and analyst, discussing BSV’s swift price rise and steep sell-off, saying that it was related to a lack of liquidity on the major exchanges.
But it’s not just the result of delisting the coin on many major exchanges. As Peters suggested, Wright’s recent court issues may have also caused a demonstrable effect on price movement.
CoinDesk recently reached out to Wright for comment but he declined to comment on price movement, BSV’s delisting and price volatility.
Craig Wright Accused of Confusing Trial Proceedings
The counsel for the estate of Dave Kleiman has accused self-proclaimed “Satoshi Nakamoto” Craig Wright of abusing attorney client privilege to withhold documents and confuse trial proceedings.
On Feb. 2, plaintiff Ira Kleiman — the late Dave Kleiman’s brother and personal representative of the estate — filed a memorandum challenging Craig’s privilege designations with the United States Southern District Court of Florida.
The memorandum is the latest turn in an ongoing litigation saga over Wright’s alleged misappropriation of over a million Bitcoin (BTC) that he and Kleiman ostensibly jointly mined in the early years of the cryptocurrency between 2009 and 2013.
Sword And Shield
“To say that discovery in this case has been challenging would be a dramatic understatement,” the memorandum begins, claiming that:
“An adversary [Wright] who submits false declarations, offers contradictory perjurious testimony under oath, and submits false documents that even his own counsel are forced to disavow, severely hinders the ability to seek the truth.”
The latest in this alleged “pattern of obfuscation,” the memorandum argues, is Wright’s set of “sweeping assertions of attorney-client, work-product and joint defense privileges” to ostensibly jeopardize trial proceedings.
The memorandum notes that Wright has asserted privilege over 11,000 documents, with a further 2,100 purportedly added just in the week before the filing.
Most pernicious, the plaintiff claims, is the apparent web of companies Wright is attempting to use in order to shield these documents — expected to end up numbering in the “tens of thousands” — all the while disavowing that he has any control over them:
“Defendant cannot use these entities as both a sword (assertion of privileges) and a shield (claiming to not be able to access company documents).”
Moreover, the plaintiff argues, almost all of the companies invoked by Wright to assert privileges no longer exist.
Given that the law is explicit in establishing that a company’s privilege “dies with it,” Wright should now be ordered to immediately produce all the documents associated with the dissolved entities, the memorandum states.
Beyond challenging Wright’s privilege assertions and professed lack of control or access, the counsel accuses him of lacking any explanation for having begun to cite joint defense privilege as grounds to withhold documents. The memorandum further claims Wright is unduly withholding selected communications on the grounds of attorney-client privilege.
Wright Has Been Accused Of Bad Faith
In late August, Judge Bruce E. Reinhart ruled in favor of the Kleiman estate, reproaching Wright at the time for engaging in a “willful and bad faith pattern of obstructive behavior.” This behavior included “filing a false declaration, knowingly producing a fraudulent trust document, and giving perjurious testimony.”
In mid-January, the court granted the Kleiman’s estate request for an extension of 90 days, after Wright’s counsel produced its 20,000+ documents shortly before the discovery deadline.
These are the documents which ostenbily pertain to the trust in which the misappropriated Bitcoin is custodied, known as the Tulip Trust.
“I’m smart enough not to be [a Trustee],” Wright quipped, in an interview with Cointelegraph last month, “because then people could actually force me to move coins […] lots of greedy people in the past have tried to take money from me.”
William Shatner Doubts Craig Wright’s Claims To Inventing Bitcoin
Captain Kirk seems unconvinced that the Australian computer scientist Craig Wright is the inventor of Bitcoin (BTC).
William Shatner, the Canadian actor that played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, suggested that Wright is not behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto — the seminal cryptocurrency’s creator. In a tweet on Feb. 11, Shatner said:
“Ask yourself why would someone claim to be Satoshi and offer zero proof? Either put up or shut up, right?”
The discussion started after a Twitter user answered Shatner’s announcement of having been at a cryptocurrency event by expressing the hope that “fake Satoshi wasn’t there.”
After clarifying that this was a reference to Craig Wright, another twitter user claimed that Wright is indeed Satoshi and that Bitcoin SV (BSV) is the real Bitcoin, to which Shatner answered:
“Why can’t he prove it? From what I’ve read is that some mysterious bonded courier would deliver the keys (which honestly is a scene right out of Back to the Future.) If he is, he should be able to prove it. This is like the modern day search for Anastasia.”
In his tweet, Shatner was referring to the Tulip Trust which purportedly contains the private keys to a million Bitcoin — worth $9.7 billion as of press time — that Wright claims will be handed to him by a courier. In late January, Wright told Cointelegraph that he is confident that he will gain access to the funds in question.
Billions in Bitcoin at stake
Wright has been wrapped up in legal proceedings brought against him by the estate of David Kleiman, an American computer scientist. The two sides are litigating over Wright’s alleged misappropriation of over a million Bitcoin that he and David mined together from 2009 to 2013.
Wright claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, but in November he told the plaintiff that he could not afford a 500,000 BTC (nearly $4.9 billion) settlement in the case that the Kleiman estate initiated against him. Earlier this month, he was accused of abusing attorney client privilege to withhold documents and confuse trial proceedings.
Craig Wright Threatens BTC And BCH With Potential Lawsuits
Craig Wright, who claims to be the Bitcoin creator known as Satoshi Nakamoto, has warned the Bitcoin (BTC) and BCH to stop using the Bitcoin database in order to avoid potential lawsuits. He claims that both networks may also violate the laws under the terms of Bitcoin’s original EULA and MIT License.
The man behind Bitcoin SV in the recent personal blog post added that he is going to take back control of the system he created, and is ready to fight for his rights this year.
Craig Wrights’ Main Argument
Wrights argues that the distributed Bitcoin database rights are governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) and the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997 (Databases Regulations 1997). So it should be considered as personal property.
Dr. Wright claims that representation of 21 million total Bitcoin which each divisible by 100 million Bitcoin is only a verbal deal.
The Bitcoin’s creator should have the full rights to claim this unilateral contract with those nodes to issue, adding that:
“As the creator of Bitcoin, I maintain the sui generis rights to any copy of the database created from Genesis in January 2009. I shall not be relinquishing the ownership. I will be licensing it, and have already engaged in a process.”
Ever since 2018 Craig Wright has been the defendant in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of Dave Kleiman, Wright’s late business partner. The claim alleged that following Kleiman’s death in 2013, Wright unlawfully appropriated more than a million Bitcoin (BTC) that the duo had mined jointly in the early years of the cryptocurrency, as well as some related intellectual property.
The new trial with Kleiman’s case has been postponed to April 17, and the trial won’t be held till July 2020. But in any case, it shouldn’t take long to find all these claims are legitimate or not.
Courts Will Seize BTC With Miners’ Help: Self-Proclaimed Satoshi Craig Wright
Self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator Craig Wright claims that Bitcoin can and will be seized to accommodate court orders.
On Feb. 26, Bitcoin influencer Peter McCormack published screenshots showing Wright claiming that the first seizure of Bitcoin by courts will happen this year and won’t require private keys.
Bitcoin Seizure Through Miner Coordination
Instead, it will supposedly happen through miner and node coordinating to comply with a court order. He concluded:
“Without keys, BTC will be confiscated. Code is law, and courts can mandate patching code. Bitcoin is not encrypted. It is economic.”
In the second and last screenshot, Wright asks for a list of firms that lost Bitcoin, such as hacked exchanges. He claimed that he wants to “ensure that people get their money back starting this year.” He said:
“You see, Bitcoin is easily confiscated, easily returned to the owner.”
Wright’s Critics Speak Against Him
William Shatner, the pop culture star and actor that played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, recently expressed the idea that Wright is not the creator of Bitcoin. He said:
“Ask yourself why would someone claim to be Satoshi and offer zero proof? Either put up or shut up, right?”
Shortly afterward, Changpeng Zhao, the co-founder and CEO of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance said that Wright “is a fraud.” When later explaining the reason why he said it, he told Cointelegraph:
“He claims to be the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a lie. He hurts the credibility of Bitcoin and is a disgrace to our entire industry.”
Can Bitcoin Be Seized As Self-Proclaimed BTC Creator Craig Wright Claims?
As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) creator Craig Wright claims that Bitcoin can and will be seized to accommodate court orders. What follows is an analysis of whether what he says is possible and plausible.
Screenshots resurfaced on Feb. 26, show that Wright claims Bitcoin will be seized without using the owner’s private keys. Instead, it will be moved through miners and nodes coordinating to comply with a court order. He said that code is law but “courts can mandate patching code.”
Cryptocurrency security consultant Sergio Demian Lerner told Cointelegraph that Wright’s proposition “is morally and legally ridiculous” given that the stolen Bitcoins “may have switched hands too many times to confiscated now.”
Mining Pool Coercion Could Work, In Theory
Furthermore, Lerner also said that miners cannot take control of the Bitcoins without changing the consensus protocol. Still, he admitted that mining pools, on the other hand, may be able to block Bitcoins if forced. He explained that governments could attempt to force most mining pools to prevent some Bitcoins from changing hands with a process similar to a 51% attack, but he does not expect this approach to work:
“The largest pools are composed by many smaller independent mining farms, and those farms would just start mining solo to prevent coercion instead of being part of such a pool. Therefore I suspect the government-controlled mining pool will just vanish from the available active and useful hashrate.”
Lerner concluded that such an approach would need law enforcement to prosecute miners that mine on pools that do not enforce censorship in many different jurisdictions. Even if such measures would be taken by governments, he expects that “Bitcoin would just switch to some other form of proof-of-work and keep moving forward.”
Author of the first proof-of-work crypto Karma System Emin Gün Sirer suggested that the claim is part of Wright’s effort to “lay down a misguided foundation to make his followers believe that miners can unilaterally reassign coins.” He said:
“This is likely part of his strategy to take ownership of Satoshi’s coins. It’s very transparent, shallow, and unconvincing. My professional opinion is that he’s a nobody trying to pull a simple scam on unsophisticated investors captivated by his unconvincing, poorly constructed, fraud-ridden tale.”
Wright Is Drowned In Criticism
While Wright has always been a controversial figure in the cryptocurrency space, lately he attracted much more criticism than usual.
Just this month, co-founder and CEO of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance Changpeng Zhao defined Wright as “a fraud” and the Canadian actor that played Captain Kirk William Shatner said that he does not believe his claims. More recently, Zhao also told Cointelegraph:
“He claims to be the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a lie. He hurts the credibility of Bitcoin and is a disgrace to our entire industry.”
Still undeterred, Wright decided this month to warn Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash that they should stop using the Bitcoin database in order to avoid potential lawsuits.
Judge Rules Craig Wright Must Only Pay 20% of Kleiman’s Attorney Fees
United States Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has ruled that the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright, must pay only 20% of the legal fees requested by the estate of the late-Dave Kleiman.
According to March 16 court documents, the attorneys representing Dave’s brother Ira requested a total of $592,558 for legal fees for hourly rates of between $610 and $1,050, and roughly $66,000 in other expenses.
Kleiman Estate Requested Nearly $660,000 In Fees And Expenses
Court documents show that Judge Reinhart found the quoted rates to be excessive, stating, “I am personally familiar with the hourly rates charged by the top civil litigators in Palm Beach County. Those rates range between $600 and $700 per hour.”
The case relates to Ira Kleiman’s allegations that Wright sought to fraudulently gain access to an enormous sum of Bitcoin (BTC) held by his brother, with the court ruling that “Satoshi Nakamoto” comprised a partnership between Wright and Kleiman during the proceedings.
Wright To Pay Nearly $166,000 In Attorney And Expense Fees To Kleiman
Reinhart also rejected claims for work carried out by Kleiman’s lawyers that did not relate directly to pertinent motions or hearings, was poorly specified, or took an unreasonable amount of time to complete.
The judge also noted difficulties in assessing the fees associated with a blockchain forensics expert contracted by Kleiman “because no information was provided regarding his hourly rate or how he spent his time,” determining that “$40,000.00 constitutes a reasonable expense.”
In total, Wright must pay $113,760 in attorney fees and an expense award of $52,040.
Attorney Fees Granted For Efforts To Compel Compliance From Wright
Reinhart recently granted sanctions for “continued non-compliance” in failing to produce sufficient documentation evidencing his Bitcoin holdings.
As such, the judge awarded attorney costs to Kleiman for work completed toward efforts to compel Wright’s compliance. However, the lawyers were only granted rates of between 50% and 64% of that which was requested.
Kleiman Estate Seeks Two-Week Extension Amid COVID-19 Lockdown
In the latest disruption to the case between the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright, and the estate of the late Dave Kleiman, the plaintiffs are seeking a two-week extension to discovery amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a motion filed on March 24, Dave Kleiman’s estate asserts that the COVID-19 lockdown has presented “numerous complications associated with meeting deadlines set prior to the onset of the global pandemic.”
The COVID-19 Pandemic Makes Depositions Improbable
With the plaintiffs’ representation currently working from home due to the law firms temporarily closing their offices, the Kleiman estate is requesting a two-week extension to complete three fact witness depositions. They stated:
“Offices are closed, support staff are not onsite, experts and lawyers are unable to travel, in-person meetings are not possible, and the ability to review documents in a collaborative manner has been trying, to say the least.”
In light of the disruptions, the plaintiffs request that the hearing date for the parties to disclose expert witness summaries be postponed from March 27 until April 10, and that the deadline for fact discovery be pushed forward from April 17 to May 1.
Plaintiffs Accuse Jimmy Nguyen Of Evading Subpoena
The estate also notes that they have been trying to serve a deposition subpoena to nChain chief executive, Jimmy Nguyen, since Feb. 14, including five attempts at his home during February alone.
The motion, which accuses Nguyen of either intentionally evading service, traveling outside of the country, or both, says that:
“Mr. Nguyen’s Twitter feed indicates that, over the past few months, he has spent a significant amount of time traveling outside of the country with Dr. Wright. He would therefore be aware of the discovery cutoff, and know that Plaintiffs are running out of time to serve him.”
Judge Slams Wright For Forged Documents
The case between Wright and Kleiman’s estate has been anything but smooth, with Wright coming under fire on multiple occasions for producing forged documents and giving perjured testimony throughout the case.
Last week, U.S. Magistrate, Judge Reinhart, ruled that Wright must pay almost $166,000 in attorney and expense fees to the Kleiman estate.
Craig Wright Challenges Court Order Criticizing His Evidence In $4B Kleiman Case (#GotBitcoin?)
Craig Wright has objected to a court order dismissing his attorney-client privilege in an ongoing legal battle over a fortune in bitcoin (BTC).
On March 23, Wright filed his objection with the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida in an ongoing case brought by Ira Kleiman, brother of the late David Kleiman who was a former business partner of Craig Wright.
Wright said the order “erroneously disregarded the attorney-client relationship” between the defendant (Wright) and his attorney, based on “preconceived conclusions of the defendant’s character.”
The case hinges upon whether Wright can prove his ownership of 1.1 million bitcoin (worth around $7.5 billion) held in the so called “Tulip Trust” – a massive encrypted trove allegedly mined with Kleiman. The Kleiman estate is suing Wright for half the bitcoin as well as intellectual property.
After a mysterious “bonded courier” failed to arrive with the keys early in 2020, Wright told the court he is unable to prove his access to the trust due to attorney-client privilege.
Earlier this month, presiding District Magistrate Bruce Reinhart dismissed Wright’s argument and apparently questioned the lawyer’s existence.
According to a March 9 filing, Wright had presented a declaration stating: “I am lawyer [sic] and obtained my bachelor of law degree in 2007 from Moi University in Kenya.” Reinhart said he also introduced “a printout of a LinkedIn profile that reflects Mr. Mayaka having a Bachelor of Laws degree from Moi University,” and asserted that Mayaka is counsel to the trust.
“I decline to rely on this kind of document, which could easily have been generated by anyone with word processing software and a pen,” Reinhart said.
The judge found last summer that Wright had argued in bad faith, committed perjury and admitted false evidence during the case.
According to Wright, the latest order “improperly relied on prior conclusions about [the] defendant that were unrelated to the existence of an attorney-client relationship and, in so doing, ignored the fundamental and bedrock principle of our legal system.”
Wright has notoriously said he is the inventor of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, but has yet to provide conclusive evidence to support the claim.
Craig Wright’s Lawyers Slam Court Order Based On ‘Personal Attacks’
Lawyers for Satoshi claimant Craig Wright have strongly criticised a magistrate’s order as wrong in law and “based in significant part on personal attacks” against Wright and his Kenyan attorney.
Wright‘s team was objecting to the Order on Discovery filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, that required him to produce a cache of 11,000 documents in a multi-billion lawsuit issued by the estate of his late business partner Dave Kleiman. They said the “order is clearly erroneous and contrary to law. It should be reversed and vacated”.
Earlier in the case, Magistrate Judge Bruce E Reinhart dismissed Wright’s attempts to claim attorney client privilege over the documents using a variety of different legal arguments. Reinhart said he “gave no weight” to Wright’s sworn statements, and that he had been known to produce fake documents.
‘I Am Lawyer’ Says Note From Kenyan Man
Wright had submitted a sworn, un-notarised declaration from a Kenyan man named Denis Bosire Mayaka who he claimed was his attorney.
The note said: “I am lawyer [sic] and obtained my bachelor of law degree in 2007 from Moi University in Kenya.” Reinhart said it “could easily have been generated by anyone with word processing software and a pen.”
In his ‘Objection of Magistrate Order on Discovery’ Wright’s attorneys said doubts over their client’s credibility and prior determinations about forgery should not have been a factor when considering Mr Mayaka’s credibility.
“Plaintiffs interject that “the credibility of a witness is always relevant.” But that is a non-sequitur. The “witness” in the declaration—and whose credibility is at “issue”—is Mr. Mayaka, not defendant. And in any event, prior determinations of forgery on unrelated issues is not an issue of credibility unless, of course, one were making a propensity argument.”
Wright’s legal team also accused the plaintiffs — the Kleiman Estate — of offering no evidence to support their claims he intentionally hid documents and did not comply with discovery. Attacking the plaintiffs directly, the lawyers asserted “they drone on for pages about other subjects, such as Tulip trusts and bonded couriers.”
Tinker, Tailor, Courier, Lawyer
The ongoing lawsuit was brought by Ira Kleiman, deceased brother of Wright’s former business partner David Kleiman, to claim his brother’s share of the Tulip Trust. At the time of press, 1,100,111 BTC from the trust would be worth approximately $8 billion.
One of the central arguments to Wright’s claims is that a third party had access to private keys for 1.1 million Bitcoin (BTC) in the Tulip Trust who could deliver them to Wright as ordered to do so by the court.
However, when pressed by the court to produce documents from the courier related to a previously unidentified “Tulip Trust”, Wright claimed they were protected by his attorney-client relationship with Mayaka, spousal privilege and privilege relating to his involvement with 17 companies.
Wright’s Attorneys Said Of The Order Rejecting All Of That:
“It runs afoul U.S. law and the rules of evidence in rejecting the Mayaka Declaration. It concludes without any evidentiary support that the corporations were defendant’s alter ego, thereby finding that he used the corporations for fraudulent or illegal purposes. It claims that there is no evidence of defendant’s connection to the corporations but ignores the fact that the Magistrate didn’t let defendant introduce that evidence.
It fails to acknowledge that the documents are privileged under Florida law. It misconstrues Australia law to avoid the Judicial Comity Doctrine. It concludes without any basis that the foreign corporations waived their attorney-client privilege.
It ignores the extensive case record in finding that defendant waived his objection that the documents were not in his possession, custody, or control. And it made no effort to determine whether the privileged communications were even relevant to this lawsuit before ordering their wholesale production.”
Craig Wright Accused of Plagiarizing Law Degree Dissertation
The man who claims to have written the Bitcoin (BTC) whitepaper may not have written his own law degree dissertation.
That’s the picture painted by “PaintedFrog,” the pseudonymous writer of a Medium post on April 9. This post demonstrates large-scale similarities between Wright’s dissertation and several other publicly available sources.
Wright’s dissertation for his LLM in International Commercial Law for Northumbria University was written in 2008, titled The Impact of Internet Intermediary Liability.
Yet the following screenshot suggests much of Wright’s paper was lifted wholesale from Hillary E. Pearson’s 1996 paper, Liability of Internet Service Providers.
Other Sections Of Pearson’s Paper Were Less Obviously Copied. However, As Craig Wright Himself Wrote In 2011:
“Plagiarism varies in its extent. It goes from simply rephrasing the ideas of another without referencing your sources right through to the literal block copy of paragraphs of text and the theft of entire passages.”
The image below shows numerous examples of Wright paraphrasing Pearson’s work, all without referencing her paper as a source.
As noted in the expository Medium article, the vast majority of Pearson’s paper was either copied verbatim or paraphrased by Wright – all without attribution:
“Pearson’s Liability of Internet Service Providers contains 58 paragraphs. Wright appropriated 45 of them; 25 in full and 20 in large part. This plagiarism is extensive and methodical, and cannot be explained away as an oversight in neglecting to cite the author.”
And Another One
Wright’s paper cites The Promise of Internet Intermediary Liability by Ronald Mann and Seth Belzley (2005) as one of its sources. However, wholesale portions of the paper’s footnotes can be found in Wright’s 2011 paper, copied verbatim.
The post goes on to document similarities between Wright’s work and that of another academic paper written in 2001, as well as a Wikipedia page.
The Medium post claims that Wright’s paper also plagiarized, to a lesser extent, numerous other original public works, including Court: Yahoo! Must Bar French From Nazi Sites (2006) by Crispian Balmer; Sale of product through an intermediary can create personal jurisdiction for patent infringement (2005) by Dennis Crouch, and many more.
Most ironic of all is the assertion that Wright plagiarized his very own public denunciation of plagiarists. Wright’s 2011 posts on InfosecIsland.com, in which he excoriates internet plagiarists, was apparently also reused from the alleged plagiarism of Pearson’s 1996 paper.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long disputed the notion that Craig Wright is really the anonymous Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. These latest findings are unlikely to change that any time soon.
Cointelegraph reached out to Craig Wright for comment. This article will be updated if any reply proves forthcoming.
Craig Wright Abandons Libel Suit Against Adam Back, Pays All Legal Fees
Crag Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto and chief scientist at NChain, has dropped a libel lawsuit against Adam Back over the Blockstream chief executive’s assertion that Wright was fraudulent in claiming to be the creator of Bitcoin (BTC).
Wright filed the complaint alongside similar suits targeting Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin, Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver, podcaster Peter McCormack, and Twitter user ‘Hodlnaut’ one year ago.
Craig Wright Drops Libel Suit Against Blockstream CEO
On April 12, Adam Back tweeted that Craig Wright had abandoned his libel suit. Back stated that Wright’s representation “declined to give any explanation of why Craig retracted.”
The Blockstream CEO also notes that Wright agreed to reimburse all legal fees he incurred — describing the move as strange given that it is “reasonable costs” of between 65% and 75% is the legal standard. In total, he estimates that the exercise cost Wright upwards of $25,000.
After agreeing to dismiss the case, Back states that he received roughly $8,400 “by wire the very next business day.” Back adds:
“On the plus side I have to thank Craig for paying for a very informative 2hr+ briefing on latest UK libel law trends, and hilarious and detailed briefing on the case vs @PeterMcCormack from legal experts at RPC. (Who were barely stifling smirks at the craziness much of the time.”
In response to the ruling, McCormack tweeted: “Me next.”
Wright Pays Back’s Legal Costs In Full
In July 2019, the High Court of England and Wales dismissed the libel suit against Roger Ver over lack of jurisdiction. Ver was served with the $125,000 lawsuit in May 2019, to which he quickly responded with a video message stating: “Craig Wright is a liar and a fraud, so sue me, again.”
In January 2020, the U.K. High Court also ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the suit against Hodlonaut, asserting that the case must proceed in Norway instead.
Vitalik Buterin did not respond to the letter sent by Wright in April 2019, and no update appears to have taken place regarding the case since.
Bitcoin SV’s Jimmy Nguyen: ‘Google Me’ If You Want to Serve Your Subpoena
Bitcoin SV’s Jimmy Nguyen has denied claims he is “intentionally evading” a subpoena in the Craig Wright case and said he’s easily located via Twitter or Google.
Bitcoin SV’s Jimmy Nguyen has denied claims he is “intentionally evading” a subpoena in the long-running court case brought by the Kleiman estate against Satoshi-claimant Craig Wright.
Nguyen’s legal team has submitted an opposition to the Kleiman estate’s motion that he comply with a subpoena to produce documents and testify in the case, which involves a dispute over ownership of the 1.1 million Bitcoin Dave Kleiman allegedly mined with Wright.
The plaintiffs had argued “Mr Nguyen may be intentionally evading service” based on the “sheer number of unsuccessful service attempts.”
But Nguyen’s submission said he wasn’t difficult to track down, and that Kleiman’s lawyers could have simply Googled him at any point to serve him at one of his many well publicized speaking engagements at crypto conferences around the world. It pointed out that the plaintiff’s had even submitted his Twitter posts to the court.
“Plaintiffs follow Mr. Nguyen’s social media, yet fail to explain their failure to serve Mr. Nguyen at any of his public appearances in 2019 or 2020”
We Did Serve Him, Sort Of
The Kleiman Estate filed a motion on April 6 to compel compliance with two subpoenas, one to produce documents and the other for deposition testimony.
They argued they had served Nguyen via email on March 10, and via Twitter on March 29. But Nguyen’s team said the email had been sent to his defunct nChain address, and both the email and Twitter messages had merely asked if he was willing to accept a subpoena that way:
“Both the email and Twitter requests were only that — requests. This is similar to asking a party to accept mailed service of a summons; the party has no obligation to agree, and the mere asking of the question is not itself effective service”
It Was Even Live Streamed
On other dates they attempted to serve him at his home in February, he was in Moscow for the Future of Sports & Blockchain Conference, and then in London for the CoinGeek conference, which he said they could have watched live on YouTube:
“Plaintiffs did not effect service on Mr. Nguyen because he was traveling outside the country on each attempted service date in February and March. Plaintiffs needed only to have performed Google searches to discover Mr. Nguyen’s publicly-promoted appearances. Had they done so, they (a) would have realized that Mr. Nguyen was not at home and (b) could have served him in person at one of his conferences.They did neither.”
Kleiman’s lawyers also claim to have served Nguyen the subpoena by certified mail on April 1, but Nguyen submitted evidence the delivery had been unsuccessful because there was “no authorized recipient” available to accept it.
So if he’s not at home, where is he now? Nguyen’s lawyers said that since late March “he has been isolating in safe and remote locations due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
Does Nguyen Know Anything?
Given Nguyen didn’t become involved with Wright until years after Kleiman passed away in 2013, he’s not an obvious candidate as a witness in the case. In December 2017, Nguyen became CEO of nChain — where Wright works as Chief Scientist, before assuming the role of President of the Bitcoin Association (which promotes BSV) one year later.
Nguyen’s submission points out that although he was listed as a potential witness as far back as May 2018, the Kleiman team didn’t seek to subpoena Nguyen before the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th revised discovery deadlines that have passed since the case began February 2018. It wasn’t until a month after the fifth revised discovery deadline that the plaintiffs began attempting to serve him:
“Plaintiffs’ complete lack of urgency in seeking discovery from Mr. Nguyen over the past two years undermines any claim that Mr. Nguyen’s testimony documents are critical to the Florida Lawsuit.”
Craig Wright’s Satoshi Case Goes To Trial July 6
Craig Wright’s Satoshi case will finally go to trial, both sides confirmed to Cointelegraph.
Lawyers representing both sides confirmed to Cointelegraph that they expect the trial to convene on July 6.
The case that has been captivating the crypto community for several years now may finally receive a resolution. On May 1, Judge Bloom, who presides over the case, issued a court order for the trial to begin on July 6.
More importantly, the lawyers representing both sides confirmed that they are not planning to file any motions that could delay the trial and are eagerly looking to the opportunity to prove their case in court.
The war of words between legal teams
Dr. Wright’s attorney Andres Rivero told Cointelegraph that his client has always wanted to establish truth in court and there will be no delaying motions from their side:
“it’s always possible for the cases to be delayed, they could be motions, more requests by the plaintiffs […] But we have opposed all the delays and we’ve always wanted to go to trial. The plaintiffs would have to prove that there was a verbal agreement that 50% of everything that Dr. Wright did for the rest of his life belonged to Mr. Kleiman ”
According to Rivero, Kleiman was a dear friend of Dr. Wright. However, this did not entitle him to half of Wright’s Bitcoins (BTC).
In a statement released to Cointelegraph, Velvel Freedman of Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP, the firm represent Ira Kleiman, called those claims “absurd”:
“Any comment that Plaintiffs are responsible for any delays to the trial date is absurd. As Judge Bloom found on January 10, 2020, Craig’s ‘antics and conduct delayed and obstructed the discovery process of this case, wasted valuable time and resources […] and prevented the Plaintiff from obtaining evidence.’ Plaintiffs are looking forward to the trial.”
A Very Unusual Case
Rivero pointed out that the judge’s “sanctions against Dr. Wright were reversed, other than the fees”. Rivero does not have an estimate for how long the trial could take as in his opinion, the case has been “very usual”:
“Your guess is as good as mine, because this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
Ira Kleiman, the brother of late Dave Kleiman, lays claim to the half of 1.1 million Bitcoins that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman allegedly mined together as part of the Satoshi Nakamoto team.
According to Rivero, his client, Dr. Wright still maintains that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, despite many detractors questioning it. Recently, John McAfee said that with 99% certainty, he knows the true identity of the author of Bitcoin whitepaper, hinting that Dr. Wright could be part of the Satoshi Nakamoto team.
Craig Wright Accused of Plagiarism Again
An anonymous blogger has again accused Satoshi claimant Dr. Craig Wright of plagiarism — this time in his doctoral thesis.
The man who claims to have written the Bitcoin whitepaper has been accused of committing plagiarism again, this time in his doctoral thesis.
PaintedFrog, the pseudonymous writer who previously accused Dr. Craig Wright of plagiarizing his 2008 law degree dissertation for Northumbria University, has posted his analysis of Wright’s 2017 PhD thesis from Charles Sturt University (CSU).
The blogger posted purported screenshots of Wright’s thesis, “The Quantification of Information Systems Risk: A Look at Quantitative Responses to Information Security Issues,” alongside several other publicly available sources.
Cointelegraph contacted Dr. Wright prior to publication of this story, and will update the piece with his response to the allegations if we hear back.
What Is Plagiarism?
PaintedFrog accused Wright of taking “huge swaths of content and reworded it to avoid automated detection tools.
In most cases, he simply substituted synonyms every few words”.
The difference between acceptable paraphrasing and outright plagiarism is something of a grey area. However, according to CSU’s own academic misconduct policy, plagiarism can be defined as:
“…rephrasing ideas from books, journals, study notes or tapes, the Web, the work of other students, or any other source without acknowledging the source of those ideas by footnotes or citations. This could include material copied from a source and acknowledged, but presented as the student’s own paraphrasing.”
The blogger claimed Wright did not properly acknowledge the sources of a number of publications. According to email correspondence with several university professors provided by PaintedFrog, CSU has reportedly begun an investigation into the matter.
PaintedFrog accused Wright of using content from “Data Mining: Desktop Survival Guide” published by Graham Williams in January 2008, “Ethical Hacking” written by Reto Baumann in 2002, and even an ornithology professor’s webpage.
The blogger suggested that Wright had made a few errors, such as an attempt “to obfuscate the equations by choosing different variable notation, but confused himself in the process and made a few errors, which are highlighted in red boxes.”
“In other cases,” the Medium writer noted, “Wright copied clear errors that were already present in the source material and did not correct them.”
PaintedFrog claims the “extensiveness of the plagiarism” overshadows any possible argument by Wright that “these are just a few mistakes.”
Wright Is Against Plagiarism
The Satoshi claimant himself has come down hard on plagiarists and wrote in a 2011 article that “plagiarism can be no different to receiving stolen intellectual property.”
“The damage done through plagiarism and the deception it entails damages not just those involved, but also the entire information security community when it is one of our own.”
Wright is highly protective of his reputation and has launched legal action against numerous figures in the crypto community that have accused him of fraud. PaintedFrog said he chose to remain anonymous to avoid potential legal action.
Sanctions Sought Over Craig Wright’s ‘False’ BTC Addresses and Courier Story
The Kleiman estate intends to file a motion for sanctions against Craig Wright claiming that a list of Bitcoin addresses he provided the court were fake.
The Kleiman estate intends to file a motion for sanctions against Craig Wright claiming that a list of Bitcoin addresses he provided the court were fake.
They also claim that he provided a “false notice” to the court about the mysterious bonded courier who Wright said would show up in January with the keys to Satoshi’s 1.1 million Bitcoin.
In A Motion For A Brief Extension To The May 8 Deadline Filed Earlier Today, Kleiman’s Legal Team Wrote:
“Plaintiffs intend to file a sanctions motion based on Defendant’s conduct in these proceedings. This motion will include, but not be limited to, the Defendant’s provision of a false notice and false list of bitcoin addresses in response to this Court’s order allowing him ‘through and including February 3, 2020, to file a notice with the Court indicating whether or not this mysterious figure has appeared from the shadows and whether the Defendant now has access to the last key slice needed to unlock the encrypted file’.”
They’re asking the court for a ten day extension to get on top of the 13 depositions conducted over the past two weeks to prove their case.
Trial Set To Begin In July
Cointelegraph reported yesterday the trial is expected to begin on July 6 and that the lawyers on both sides had confirmed they were not planning any motions that could delay the trial.
The ongoing lawsuit was brought by Ira Kleiman, brother of Wright’s deceased business partner David Kleiman. The Kleiman estate is after a share of the billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin (BTC) Wright and Kleiman allegedly mined.
Earlier in the case, Wright claimed he no longer had access to the BTC, which was held in the Tulip Trust and that a bonded courier would show up in January 2020 providing access. In January, he told the court the courier had shown up, and submitted a list of BTC addresses.
The case is not looking promising for Wright at this stage, as both Judge Bloom and Judge Reinhart have made reference to Wright’s provision of forged materials and perjured testimony.
Craig Wright Threatened To Crash The Bitcoin Price… So, What Happened?
There are many halving predictions yet to come true — among them, Satoshi claimant Craig Wright’s “long-term advance notice” from 2018 that he would crash the Bitcoin price.
There are many halving predictions yet to come true — among them Satoshi claimant Craig Wright’s “long-term advance notice” from 2018 that he intended to crash the Bitcoin price.
The warning emerged from a Slack group that Wright uses to communicate with his acolytes, and his dastardly scheme makes fascinating reading.
Dismissed At The Time
Wright’s sell-off threat came just prior to the much-hyped fork of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain to create Bitcoin SV.
Although there were some true believers who clearly relished the prospect of these events actually occurring, it was dismissed by many at the time as typical Wright braggadocio and self-promotion.
Rolling Iceberg Gathers No Moss
According to Wright, the sale would consist of a rolling iceberg order on a single exchange followed by significant orders on other exchanges. Iceberg orders are split into smaller lots with visible and hidden parts, the hidden parts only becoming apparent once the visible parts have been executed.
This was intended to significantly crash the BTC price and be matched with a 10x leveraged short to capitalize on this.
Simultaneously, Wright planned to throttle the network hash, rejecting all transactions other than “unrecognised SegWit TXs to miners and our own Exchange TXs.”
This was to occur via the addition of 51% of network hash power prior to the price crash, although no further details of how this would be achieved were given.
Computer Says “No”
As Cointelegraph reported, Bitcoin’s third halving event happened as scheduled, with the only untoward outcome so far being YouTube pulling the plug on our livestream party and a vague sense of disappointment from underwhelmed hodlers.
The hash rate has so far been relatively unaffected, and unless Wright was behind the weekend’s Bitcoin price drop, then we can only assume that the halving he’s planning to hatch his scheme for is the one due in 2024.
Looks like everyone can breathe easy again… for another four years, at least.
Motions Fly High As Craig Wright Set To Face Kleiman Estate In Court
Jockeying for position continues, but it looks like Kleiman v. Wright is going to trial. Still, never say never as most lawsuits settle.
The crypto news headlines at the start of May with regard to Kleiman v. Wright were mostly variations on the theme of Craig Wright’s Satoshi case going to trial. The two parties appear well entrenched in their positions, and lawyers for both sides have said they expect the trial to begin as scheduled on July 6, 2020, in Florida.
Does this mean there will be no settlement? “This is not like an ordinary commercial dispute where the parties can agree they’ve got a 50-50 chance of winning on an ambiguous contract provision, so they just split the difference,” Jason Gottlieb, a partner and the chair of Morrison Cohen LLP’s White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement Practice Group, told Cointelegraph, adding: “There’s a lot of money on the line, and for Dr. Wright, his reputation. It’s a relatively hard case to settle.”
A settlement requires “two to tango,” noted Florida attorney Bradford Patrick, and one of the parties here, Craig Wright, is no ordinary litigant. “There will be no resolution because he would rather play with fire to the end,” he told Cointelegraph. Still, “never say never,” added Gottlieb. “Most cases settle.”
Slapping Wright With Sanctions?
Meanwhile, skirmishing continues. On May 5, the plaintiffs announced their intent to file a sanctions motion, and on May 8, they filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the defendant’s affirmative defenses. What do we make of that?
Given defendant Wright’s behavior in the case, it isn’t surprising that the plaintiffs might file a sanctions motion — which basically punishes Wright for improper conduct — especially if they believed Wright submitted a false list of Bitcoin addresses in response to the court’s order, as claimed, suggested Grant Gulovsen, an Illinois attorney who focuses on cryptocurrency and blockchain matters. Gulovsen told Cointelegraph:
“This may not have much significance in terms of the ultimate outcome of the case, but to the extent that the crypto community believes strongly one way or another about the credibility of the defendant, I think this is very significant.”
And even if the plaintiffs do not prevail on the sanctions motion, added Gottlieb, it would “remind the judge of all the bad behavior that Dr. Wright has exhibited throughout the case, in the hopes of influencing any later close calls, and depriving him of the benefits of any doubts.”
As for the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment on the defendant’s affirmative defenses, this was made under seal due to the confidentiality order in place, so no one really knows what’s in it. Asked to speculate, Gottlieb told Cointelegraph:
“Frankly, I would expect plaintiffs to come out swinging in this summary judgment motion, and possibly eliminate some or all of the affirmative defenses in the case. It is possible that they may be shooting to affirmatively win the case on summary judgment.”
Nixing Expert Witnesses?
Also on May 8, Craig Wright filed a motion to exclude the opinion testimonies of five plaintiffs’ expert witnesses — including Andreas Antonopoulos, a crypto speaker and author of the book Mastering Bitcoin. The motion to exclude the experts is fairly straightforward and common, according to Gottlieb.
Whether a person has sufficient scientific or technical expertise to provide an opinion is up to the judge. With regard to Antonopoulus, for instance, Gottlieb believes that:
“If his only contribution is to submit a screenshot of a Bitcoin price, then, yes, I would expect he would be excluded. However, if he is providing expert testimony on the issue of how one discerns a Bitcoin price, I could see that as being relevant for expert testimony.”
Expert witness testimony is covered under Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Experts, noted Gulovsen, and in addition to being “qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education,” a witness can only provide opinion testimony if four other criteria that ensure the expert is reliable and knowledgeable are met — all in all, a fairly high bar.
According to the attorney, there are arguments to be made whether the first three witnesses fit the aforementioned criteria, while it’s more difficult to assess the other two as “the arguments are more nuanced.”
The plaintiffs are attempting to admit Antonopoulos’s testimony on economic damages — how much money the estate of David Kleiman is entitled to — in particular, what the “price” of Bitcoin was on certain dates to use as a basis to come up with that calculation. Gulovsen is of the opinion that:
“Since Antonopoulos is not an economist, he is not qualified ‘as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education’ to testify as to what the ‘price’ of Bitcoin was on a certain date, and should not be permitted to offer damage-related testimony.”
The plaintiffs are also trying to admit Antonopoulos’s testimony because of certain online communications purportedly authored by Satoshi Nakamoto. This, too, might be problematic because jurors can read Nakamoto’s communications — e.g., emails — themselves and decide. “And since Antonopoulos never met Satoshi and, admittedly, doesn’t know who Satoshi is, his testimony about the communications is unhelpful to the jury,” said Gulovsen.
Gordon Klein is a law professor whose testimony relates to the legal standards necessary for establishing an oral partnership in Florida. Gulovsen observed that testimony that relates to “what the law is” in a given case is improper because that is the job of the court — i.e., the judge — adding:
“As a result, Klein’s opinion not only fails to ‘help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue but would likely confuse the jury as to what law should be applied.”
Matthew Edman is a computer scientist whose forensic analysis testimony relates to whether certain purported alterations to documents are “consistent” with having been made by Craig Wright. A problem for the plaintiffs here might be that “Edman has no formal training as a forensic expert and is, therefore, not qualified ‘as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education’ on the subject of forensic analysis.”
In most cases, if experts are prohibited from testifying at a trial, it speaks more to the fact that the plaintiffs’ lawyers should have hired more appropriate experts — than failings of the experts themselves, Gulovsen added, summarizing for Cointelegraph that the defense’s possible arguments against the first three witnesses, including Antonopoulos, are still not clear cut: “I have no opinion as to whether the arguments will prevail.”
Victory On His Own Terms?
This lawsuit appears to belong to that rare class of civil cases where one party clashes irrespective of litigation expenses or legal fees or even any apparent economic consequences. The protagonists in such cases are often “egoists — who have loads of money — and can afford to fight to the end — win, lose or draw — to satisfy their own image as winners,” said Patrick.
“Settlement becomes unlikely because they chose to put themselves in the driver’s seat on the obstacle course in the first place. They desire victory on their own terms,” added Patrick, telling Cointelegraph that Wright is not likely to bury the hatchet with a settlement.
Gulovsen, for his part, said he would be surprised if this case actually goes to trial. “But if it does, the only thing I’ll be looking for is whether I’ve got enough popcorn stashed in the pantry to last for the duration.”
Craig Wright Denies Transferring ‘Satoshi’ Coins, Leaving Him In Legal Catch-22
Wright has denied moving 50 Bitcoin from one of the ‘Satoshi’ accounts he claimed in court as his own, leaving him in a legal quandary.
Bitcoin’s SV’s billionaire benefactor Calvin Ayre revealed Satoshi claimant Craig Wright has denied moving 50 BTC from a long-dormant address thought by some to belong to the Bitcoin founder.
On Wednesday, an unknown party moved 50 BTC — roughly $486,000 worth — from an address containing coins mined barely one month after the launch of the Bitcoin mainnet in 2009.
But in a Twitter response to Blockstream’s Adam Back, Ayre said it had nothing to do with Wright:
It was NOT Satoshi, I just spoke with him and Craig confirmed not him.
However the address in question, 17XiVVooLcdCUCMf9s4t4jTExacxwFS5uh, is among the 16,000 listed in a court document in the Kleinman v. Wright case, that Wright claims as his own.
The Catch-22 in this situation is that Wright has denied in court he has access to the private keys to the addresses, so if he said he moved the 50 BTC he’d be in trouble. However if someone else moved the coins, that would indicate the address does not belong to him, again leaving him in a potentially sticky legal situation.
If Ayre is to be believed regarding Wright’s denial, the latter could face serious complications in the ongoing trial. The judge has already questioned Wright’s credibility on more than one occasion.
Bitcoin Price Falls 5%
Prior to Ayre’s response, the movement of 50 BTC from the dormant wallet had many in the crypto community asking whether Nakamoto himself was back.
The wallet address is not one associated with the Bitcoin creator, but the 11-year gap in activity still caused a 5% drop in BTC price — from the $9,700s to $9,400s — when the news broke.
Wright’s denial should stem any fears he’s about to sell off a large amount of Bitcoin. In 2018, he posted an ominous warning on Slack, explaining in detail how he’d be selling a “large volume of BTC” around the time of a halving that would tank the price.
Others in the crypto community, however, are highly skeptical the tokens belong to either Nakamoto or Wright. Blockstream founder Adam Back thinks if the real Satoshi were to liquidate some of his holdings, he would choose a more anonymous address.
Early Bitcoin Miner Calls Craig Wright a Fraud Through ‘His Own’ Addresses
Craig Wright’s claim to thousands of Bitcoin addresses is shaken once again as 145 addresses with BTC from 2009 signed a message saying he is a fraud.
A message signed by 145 wallets containing Bitcoin (BTC) mined in its first years calls Craig Wright a “liar and a fraud.”
The message was published on May 25 with a list of 145 addresses and their corresponding signatures. This seemingly proves that the addresses do indeed belong to the person broadcasting the message. The message itself reads:
“Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message. The Lightning Network is a significant achievement. However, we need to continue work on improving on-chain capacity. Unfortunately, the solution is not to just change a constant in the code or to allow powerful participants to force out others.”
Notably, Cointelegraph was able to verify that all of the addresses can be found among the list of thousands claimed by Craig Wright in the case against Ira Kleiman.
Wright has on multiple occasions failed to produce proof of ownership of the alleged fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, who is believed to have mined more than one million BTC.
An easy way of doing so is by signing a message with the cryptographic private key of the wallet in question, which can be checked with the public key.
Given that Wright tried to evade every occasion where he would have been forced to conclusively prove ownership, many in the community doubt that he owns those Bitcoins — and thus, that he’s Satoshi Nakamoto.
Is This A Message From Satoshi?
The signed message bears some similarity to a 2015 message coming from Satoshi’s email address, saying “I am not Craig Wright. We are all Satoshi.”
While the first part of the new statement rehashes the same concept, the message then expresses an opinion on the debates that ravaged Bitcoin before Bitcoin Cash (BCH) spun off into its own chain.
The blocks mined by this unknown person fall outside of the Patoshi pattern, which is the basis behind the claim that Satoshi mined more than 1 million BTC. Nevertheless, there is no absolute certainty in identifying which blocks are Satoshi’s and which are not. It seems likely that the similarity is a tribute to the alleged Satoshi message.
The early Bitcoin miner appears to have a middle ground position between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. While he praises the Lightning Network, he also argues for higher on-chain capabilities. However, he does not believe that raising the block size, or “changing a constant in the code,” is the solution.
This is the second time in less than a week that an early miner suddenly showed activity.
What Happens Now For Wright?
The Kleiman case rests entirely on the assumption that Wright is Satoshi, which would entitle Ira Kleiman to half of those Bitcoins.
Wright has already been accused of perjury and forging documents, and the early miners’ activity put him in a tough spot for continuing to claim that he is Satoshi.
It is becoming ever more obvious that Wright has no access to those coins, which would nullify the long running case, set to enter trial on July 6.
Satoshi Didn’t Sign Craig Wright Message, Says Crypto Researcher
Researchers examine whether a message signed by a 2009 miner calling Craig Wright a fraud may have been signed by Satoshi Nakamoto.
On Monday, a Bitcoin (BTC) miner — or multiple Bitcoin miners — signed a message calling Craig Wright a fraud. One of the addresses used had been previously attributed to the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
The message was signed with 145 signatures belonging to the 145 corresponding addresses, and one of those addresses — 12CTHhyJtr49LgoUShbWgebLBviLAFj6nj — was a coinbase address for the Bitcoin mined in block 30169.
Previous research conducted by Sergio Demian Lerner identified this block as one mined by Satoshi.
However, Lerner Told Cointelegraph That This Is A Case Of False-Positive Attribution:
“It’s a false positive. Clearly looking at the graph I see that the algorithm chose the wrong slope. The algorithm is not perfect. It’s explained in the post. When there is a ‘cloud’ of points, it just tries to pick the one that is close to Patoshi slope, having the right least significant byte attributes.”
BitMEX Research has also weighed in, concluding that two of the addresses used in the statement have “weak allocation” to Satoshi:
The blocks that BitMEX Research believes have a chance to have been mined by Satoshi are 30255 and 33270, which are not identified as belonging to Satoshi by Lerner’s algorithm.
Early Bitcoin Involvement
Whoever signed the message may have been involved in Bitcoin from its early days, as the blocks go back to 2009, when there were still very few miners besides Satoshi. The message read:
“Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message. The Lightning Network is a significant achievement. However, we need to continue work on improving on-chain capacity. Unfortunately, the solution is not to just change a constant in the code or to allow powerful participants to force out others.”
Also, they support the Lighting Network and do not believe an increase in block size is the right approach to improving on-chain scalability, which could be construed as them siding with the conservatism of the Bitcoin core community, not Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Furthermore, their support for the Lightning Network may indicate support for Blockstream, the company co-founded by the inventor of proof-of-work consensus, Adam Back. His Hashcash was a major stepping stone for Satoshi and was cited in the Bitcoin white paper.
Since Satoshi Left The Project, There Have Been Very Few Messages That Might Be Attributed To Him. In 2014, He Declared:
“I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
Perhaps Satoshi reactivates himself once in a while to steer the Bitcoin boat in the right direction.
Kleiman Lawyers Seize on New Evidence of Craig Wright’s ‘Fabrication’
The Kleiman estate’s legal team has seized upon this week’s revelation that 145 Bitcoin addresses claimed by Craig Wright are controlled by someone else.
The Kleiman estate’s legal team has entered into evidence this week’s revelation that 145 addresses claimed by Craig Wright are not controlled by him.
They filed a notice of supplementary evidence supporting their motion for sanctions against Wright earlier this morning, adding to their laundry list of complaints against the Satoshi-claimant.
They said the new evidence further proves the “CSW Filed List” is not a list of Wright’s Bitcoin public addresses but is instead a “purposeful fabrication” by him.
The Kleiman estate is suing Wright over the Bitcoin he allegedly mined in a partnership with the late Dave Kleiman.
‘Liar And A Fraud’
On May 24 2020 an unknown actor posted a message, signed with the private keys to the addresses on the CSW Filed List saying:
“Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message … We are all Satoshi”
The coins in the addresses were all mined between May 10, 2009 and January 10, 2010, with each holding the original block reward of 50 BTC — adding up to $64 million worth combined.
The Plaintiffs quoted Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos’ declaration that “You cannot sign a message in this way unless you have the private key to those addresses.”
Wrong List? Nope
Bitcoin SV (BSV) supporters believe the message was from early Bitcoin developer Greg Maxwell, who they claim has a vendetta against Wright.
BSV’s billionaire benefactor Calvin Ayre claimed the addresses are not on the official, sealed and final list:
“He presented an early list that was all possible ones his could be that is public…and then later when he was clear on his he filed this in court but its sealed so not public. No of the blocks Maxwell and other Fraudsters are using to attack Craig are on the valid sealed list.”
However as the Plaintiff’s supplement makes clear, the CSW Filed List was “mistakenly” filed by them on the public docket — giving the unknown actor access to them — and the 145 addresses are indeed on it.
The motion contains an extensive footnote on this, presumably in case the court felt this “mistake” was a little too convenient to be believable.
Wright Has The Keys
The Plaintiffs had already argued the list was a “forgery intended to deceive Plaintiffs and this Court, and that Wright created it to avoid sanctions pursuant to this Court’s Order”
They said the new evidence further proves this list is “not an accurate listing of Wright’s Bitcoin,and that he is still hiding the true list from Plaintiffs and the Court.”
“Said simply, Wright represented these 145 addresses were part of his Bitcoin holdings and were locked in an inaccessible encrypted file. This week, the person that actually controls the private keys to those addresses used those private keys … thus proving the addresses do not belong to Wright.”
While the new evidence was seized upon by many on Crypto Twitter as demonstrating once and for all Wright is not Satoshi, that’s not the position of the Kleiman team.
They still believe he has access to considerable BTC wealth and demand a share of it based on Wright’s alleged partnership with Dave Kleiman in mining the BTC. Last week they argued that Wright has access to the BTC holdings in question.
Despite Antonopoulos’ evidence the person who signed the message had access to the private key, Decrypt today quoted Bitcoin developer Rene Pickhardt as saying that it was still possible the addresses had been exploited:
“Of course security might be compromised and the signatures could only be created for this particular message but not for potential coin transfers.”
UK Court Drops Craig Wright’s Appeal Against Roger Ver
Calling Wright a “fraud” is not a UK-related matter, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales rules.
Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto candidate and chief scientist at NChain, has lost an appeal against Bitcoin.com founder and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) evangelist, Roger Ver. Wright originally sued Ver for calling him “a fraud and a liar” in a now-deleted YouTube video in 2019, but the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, causing Wright to file an appeal.
According to May 29 court documents from the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the appeal has now been rejected because “England and Wales is not clearly the most appropriate place to bring this action for Defamation.”
Wright, an Australian national, reportedly lives in London, while Ver is a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Wright argued that being labelled a fraud damaged his reputation within the UK’s business community, which is why he chose to file a lawsuit in Britain.
The court, however, decided that “Dr Wright’s reputation is just as likely to be affected in other jurisdictions where publication took place, as it is in England and Wales,” since “Bitcoin is a global currency”. It also mentioned that the majority of Ver’s social media followers are based in the United States.
Roger Ver told Cointelegraph that Wright now has to cover all of his court costs to date, which are nearing $100,000 according to his estimations. “I’ll be asking him to pay me via Bitcoin Cash,” Ver added.
When asked to comment on Wright’s decision to pursue legal action, Ver replied: “truth hurts.”
Craig Wright’s Many Legal Battles
Notably, the judges stressed that their decision “does not address whether Dr Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto”, a claim Wright has been trying to prove in his case against Ira Kleiman, scheduled to go on trial on July 6.
Earlier this month, a message signed by 145 wallets containing Bitcoin (BTC) mined in its first years called Craig Wright a “liar and a fraud,” in an apparent attempt to prove that he is not Satoshi Nakamoto.
Similar claims have previously been made by Blockstream CEO Adam Back, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, podcaster Peter McCormack, and pseudonymous Twitter user Hodlnaut — all of whom have received libel lawsuits from Wright at some point.
Not Your Tulip Trust? Message Calling Craig Wright ‘Fraud’ May Unlock the Case
Legal experts say a message in Bitcoin addresses linked to the Tulip Trust could be used against Craig Wright in his case with Kleiman estate.
Infamous cryptocurrency figure Craig Wright faces newfound legal challenges over more than 1 million Bitcoin (BTC) after addresses listed in the Tulip Trust were used to sign a message labeling him a fraud. Wright has long been a divisive figure within the cryptocurrency community, having made unverified claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin.
These claims have been met with derision and disbelief by various prominent industry participants, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, podcast host Peter McCormack and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponent Roger Ver. Wright went as far as filing lawsuits for libel in the United Kingdom against McCormack, while Buterin and Ver were also recipients of legal notices from Wright’s lawyers. Wright’s initial case against Ver was dismissed in a U.K. court, and although he appealed the dismissal, it was then dismissed again by the court on May 29.
Wright has also been embroiled in a lengthy court case relating to the estate of his former business partner since 2018. Ira Kleiman, the brother of Wright’s late business partner David Kleiman, has laid claim to half of 1.1 million BTC that Wright and Kleiman reportedly mined together as part of a group of people who worked on creating the Bitcoin network.
As Cointelegraph has previously reported, the Kleiman legal team is not out to prove or disprove the actual identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, but provide enough evidence in order for their clients to be awarded the claim to proceeds purportedly held by Wright. The case essentially rests on the ability of either proving or disproving that Wright is in possession of various private keys to early wallets that are believed to belong or have been used by Satoshi.
A Long History Of Claims
Wright’s reputation in the crypto community has been under a cloud for many years, given his history of claims and aggressive rhetoric toward industry peers. Back in May 2016, Wright claimed to have access to the cryptographic keys associated with the first Bitcoin blocks ever mined in a blog post — which was subsequently covered by mainstream media outlets, including the BBC, GQ and The Economist.
Wright subsequently went back on his claim that he was Satoshi Nakamoto in a post that was published on his website just days after his initial claims had been made. He refused to make good on a prior promise to further prove he was indeed Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator by actually moving Bitcoin believed to belong to Satoshi.
There have been a number of incidents where Wright has made confusing statements in order to further justify his assertions that he is Bitcoin’s creator. In 2019, he claimed that Satoshi had plagiarized large portions of work from one of his theses written in 2008, adding more to the confusion: “Either I am Satoshi or Satoshi plagiarized me. You can make the choice, I don’t really care.”
Just over a year ago, Wright went as far as filing a copyright claim in the United States for the original Bitcoin white paper, as well as a major portion of the code used to build the cryptocurrency. As previously reported, the U.S. Copyright Office does not check the validity of any statement or claim made to a copyright. Furthermore, it does not legally validate any identity.
The Tulip Trust
Wright’s assertions that he is Satoshi Nakamoto have been intrinsically tied to his ongoing legal battle with the Kleiman estate since 2018, which is demanding half of over 1 million BTC that Wright and David Kleiman had mined together in the early years after Bitcoin’s inception. Wright maintains that he and Kleiman had tied up the BTC holdings into the “Tulip Trust” — which can only be accessed with private keys to the various wallets holding the BTC.
As this Reddit post explains, Wright supposedly split up private keys “into several parts using a Shamir’s Secret Sharing Scheme,” which were then distributed to trustees. Wright lost access to the holdings — a list of addresses in an encrypted file — when David Kleiman died but said that the various private keys that are needed to unlock the BTC held in the trust would be delivered by a bonded courier at the beginning of 2020.
In the months leading up to that, Wright had been ordered to deliver addresses that contained some of the BTC holdings of the Tulip Trust. While he told the court that it was impossible to do that due to the way he had split up the root private keys when the trust was created. Nevertheless, Wright did supply a number of blocks that potentially belonged to him in the Tulip Trust with the help of nChain midway through 2019. That list was met with scrutiny for various reasons, including the fact that some of the blocks’ coin base had been spent.
Media houses speculated that the mysterious bonded courier delivered the package to Wright in January 2020 after his legal team notified the court that he had produced a list of his Bitcoin holdings. Again, this list was heavily scrutinized by the Bitcoin community and was almost identical to the list that had been provided in 2019.
In an interview with Wright published by Cointelegraph on Jan. 23, 2020, he explained that he had set up the trust to protect the funds and had deliberately decided not to be a trustee. That meant that he could not be forced to move funds by a third party. Wright also said that he was still awaiting the delivery of keys to access the funds.
Satoshi Strikes Back?
Wright’s provision of public addresses to the courts in January could potentially be the fuel to drive the Kleiman estate’s legal case after recent developments. On May 20, news broke that 50 BTC had been moved from an address that contained coins that had been mined in February 2009, some six weeks after the Bitcoin mainnet went live. The address contained a coin base transaction of 50 BTC, which is the transaction containing the reward to a miner.
The cryptocurrency community was awash with speculation that Satoshi Nakamoto may have been responsible for the transaction, given that the address contained coins mined so soon after inception.
Nevertheless, that summation has also been questioned by various industry participants, including renowned cryptographer Adam Back, who cast aspersions on the address being linked to one address identified in the “Patoshi Pattern.” The Patoshi Pattern was identified by Bitcoin researcher Sergio Demian Lerner, who told Cointelegraph soon after the news broke that he didn’t think the transaction had been carried out by Satoshi.
Bitfury’s Crystal also released its own insights into the transactions and echoed Back’s belief that the actions were not carried out by Satoshi. Crystal CEO Marina Khaustova told Cointelegraph that the company’s clustering tool identified that the majority of the addresses did not line up with the Patoshi Pattern address.
However, the address itself is weaved into the Wright vs. Kleiman legal battle, as it is one of the addresses provided by Wright in the preliminary list of addresses of the Tulip Trust. Wright has since denied moving the coins on May 20, while claiming the address was not among those given to the court in January 2020.
Wright was thrown another curveball just days later, as a message calling him a “liar and a fraud” was signed alongside a list of 145 addresses and their corresponding signatures. These addresses all contain Bitcoin mined in the first few years of its creation. Perhaps more damning was the fact that various members of the crypto community verified that all of the addresses were found among the list of addresses listed as part of the Tulip Trust. This has been independently verified by Cointelegraph as well.
The Legal Ramifications
The Kleiman estate’s legal team has wasted no time pouncing on the fact that these addresses that were listed by Wright are seemingly controlled by someone else and submitted a notice of supplementary evidence to argue that the “CSW Filed List” provided by Wright’s legal team in January was fabricated:
“Wright represented these 145 addresses were part of his bitcoin holdings and were locked in an inaccessible encrypted file. This week, the person that actually controls the private keys to those addresses used those private keys to declare that ‘Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud’ and ‘doesn’t have the keys’ for those addresses — thus proving the addresses do not belong to Wright.”
The Kleiman legal team still believes that Wright has access to these Bitcoin holdings and has been hiding the true list from the court. Cointelegraph reached out to United States-based corporate lawyer Dean Steinbeck to ascertain whether the recent development could be used against Wright successfully by the Kleiman legal team. Steinbeck believes that the information will be used to demonstrate that Wright is not in control of the addresses he’s previously claimed to own:
“This information pretty much confirms what many industry pundits have thought all along: Wright is not Satoshi. This turn of events will negatively impact Wright’s claims. In order for Wright to continue asserting that he has control of these addresses, he will need to argue that either he sent the messages calling himself a fraud or he will need to argue that his accounts were hacked. Either argument is unbelievable to anyone familiar with how crypto works.”
New York-based lawyer Daniel Kelman also weighed in on the situation and the potential effect it will have on the Wright vs. Kleiman case. Kelman told Cointelegraph that these latest developments could have serious knock-on effects for Wright, saying: “The judges have already stated on record that they did not find Wright’s testimony believable.” He added:
“These addresses provide mathematical proof that Wright perjured himself. So, the question now becomes (1) whether this will result in a return of the sanctions from last summer (which were set aside on appeal) and a judgement for billions to Kleiman based on the sanctions (rather than the case’s merits); and (b) whether Wright’s perjury will be referred to a U.S. attorney to bring him up on felony perjury charges.”
As Kelman elaborated, there is far more to the story that needs to be considered and that Wright has potentially cornered himself in this dispute because of his assertions that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, adding that “the backstory to this dispute is more complicated than what we see in court papers.” Kelman believes that Wright went along with the case for the sake of keeping nChain and BSV afloat while also hoping to eventually settle, but once damages began to pile up, it no longer became an option. Kelman concluded:
“What Wright probably didn’t consider before he embarked on his defense is that he could in fact wind up on the hook for Satoshi’s billions by virtue of court sanctions for perjuring himself, which happened last summer, and he managed to have set aside on appeal. Those sanctions could now come back and hand a major victory to Kleiman.”
Nevertheless, it seems clear that these latest moves by entities controlling these legacy addresses could have dire consequences for Wright’s legal case and his reputation. Steinbeck explained that Wright could face a criminal conviction if he’s found guilty of perjury:
“If it is ultimately determined that Wright perjured himself by providing the court with knowingly false information, Wright can face severe legal consequences, including the possibility of criminal action. Perjury is considered a serious offense and is treated as a felony. If Wright is convicted on such a charge, he may be imprisoned up to five years and face hefty civil penalties.”
‘No Message Was Signed’: Craig Wright Refutes Tulip Trust Fabrication
Craig Wright has refuted the notion he doesn’t have the private keys to the ‘Satoshi’ addresses that he claimed in court as his own.
Craig Wright maintains that he alone has access to the ‘Satoshi’ Bitcoin addresses filed in court, despite a message apparently signed by 145 of the addresses calling him “a liar and a fraud”.
Wright says anyone that thinks his credibility is now in tatters as a result “doesn’t understand digital signatures at all”.
He is being sued by the estate of his alleged former business partner Dave Kleiman, which is seeking a share of billions of dollars of Bitcoin (BTC) the pair may or may not have mined together.
As part of the case, Wright filed a list of early Bitcoin addresses he claims are his. However, on May 24 an unknown actor posted a message, signed with the private keys to 145 addresses on the file list. This was seized on by the Kleiman estate to suggest the entire list was a fabrication.
But in an interview with Patrick McLain on REIMAGINE 2020’s YouTube channel on June 3, Wright said: “No message was signed,” refuting the idea that anyone could sign such a message anonymously:
“You have to either have an identity attribute or an identity to sign in this issue. Someone can’t go and say ‘Hey, I’ve got a key — I’m signing’. If you think that, then you don’t understand digital signatures at all.”
Wright said that because there was no signature included in the May 24 message, “You can’t have a digital signature that is anonymous… It’s not signing a message.”
Dread Pirate Roberts’ Defense
The Kleiman team have argued the list Wright presented to the Court was a forgery, quoting Bitcoin educator Andreas Antonopoulos in their legal motion as saying no message like the one on May 24 could be signed without private keys.
Wright refuted this directly with McLain, saying the claim was the same as Antonopoulos’ defense of Ross Ulbricht in the Silk Road case:
“It wasn’t signed […] that was Antonopoulos’ Dread Pirate Roberts’ defense that got kicked out of Silk Road prosecution, saying to sign you have to register a key, and that has to be protected.”
Last week Bitcoin developer Rene Pickhardt said it was possible the signatures could have been exploited: “Of course security might be compromised and the signatures could only be created for this particular message but not for potential coin transfers.”
Twists And Turns
The addresses filed with the court — holding Bitcoin mined between May 10, 2009 and January 10, 2010 — have been under intense scrutiny since being leaked from court documents. On May 20 an unknown party moved $486,000 BTC from one of the addresses associated with Wright.
The case between Wright and Kleiman is still ongoing, with a trial scheduled for July 6 in the Southern District of Florida.
Craig Wright Apparently Just Admitted To Hacking Mt. Gox
Craig Wright’s legal team appears to alleged that he controls one of the Bitcoin addresses affiliated with an old Mt. Gox hack.
One of the faces of anonymous coin Monero, Ricardo Spagni, also known as Fluffy Pony, tweeted out information indicating Craig Wright’s affiliation with a Mt. Gox-related Bitcoin wallet.
“Just so we’re clear, Craig Wright has just openly admitted (via his lawyers) to be the guy that stole 80k BTC from Mtgox,” Spagni said in a June 12 tweet, including court documents in the post.
Fluffy Pony Makes His Point
“The screenshots below show the court documents indicating the ‘1Feex’ address is where the stolen Mt Gox funds were sent. What do you have to say, Calvin Ayre?”
Craig Wright Denies Hacking Mt. Gox, Says He Bought That Bitcoin
The controversial Satoshi Nakamoto candidate says he bought Bitcoin stored in the 1Feex address.
Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto candidate and chief scientist at NChain, has addressed the recent allegations about him hacking the now-defunct exchange Mt. Gox.
Last week, a lead maintainer of Monero (XMR) privacy coin Ricardo Spagni tweeted out court documents suggesting Craig Wright’s affiliation with a Mt. Gox-related Bitcoin (BTC) wallet known as “1Feex”:
“Just so we’re clear, Craig Wright has just openly admitted (via his lawyers) to be the guy that stole 80k BTC from Mtgox.”
Spagni’s tweet followed a string of letters sent by Wright’s lawyers on June 12, where they stressed that their client owns 80 BTC on the “1Feex” address, which has been associated with the Mt. Gox hack.
Wright Claims He Bought The 1Feex Bitcoins, Refutes Evidence
In a statement shared with Cointelegraph earlier today, Wright claims that he purchased the Bitcoin stored in the 1Feex wallet in late February 2011 and “it was transferred into that address on 1 March that year.”
“The full amount of the Bitcoin, which is now owned by Tulip Trading Limited, remains in that address today,” the nChain chief scientist said.
According to Wright, the only evidence presented as part of the allegations is “a purported Skype chat between Mark Karpeles and Jed McCaleb, but that document is only a text file rather than a validated Skype log.”
“No other evidence or any credible evidence, such as internal/accounting records from Mt. Gox, has been put forward,” he continued. Wright also stressed that Mark Karpeles has been convicted of manipulating company records before.
The new statement also mentions that the 1Feex Bitcoin transaction was not reported to the police between March 2011 and Mt. Gox’s breakdown in 2014, “nor did Mt. Gox make any attempt to recover that bitcoin.” Wright finds it suspicious, since the alleged Skype document suggests that Karpeles would have known that the missing cryptocurrency was stored in the 1Feex address.
Wright closed his statement offering anyone “including the liquidators of Mt. Gox,” to contact his lawyers if they want to claim ownership of the said Bitcoin.
As part of one of Wright’s ongoing legal battles, he claims to own the Tulip Trust — a number of Bitcoin wallet addresses holding a total of roughly 1.1 million BTC that he and his business partner, Dave Kleiman, had allegedly mined.
Kleiman passed away in 2013, leaving Wright unable to retrieve the funds. Wright is now locked in a court battle with the estate of David Kleiman. As he recently told Cointelegraph, he is “99.9999 and a few more 9s percent certain” that he will be taking control of the Tulip Trust addresses. A trial for this case is scheduled for July 6 in the Southern District of Florida.
Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles: Craig Wright is ‘Either a Thief or a Fraud’
Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles insists that the 80,000 Bitcoin that Dr. Wright claims were stolen from the exchange, citing expert support.
Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles insists that the 80,000 Bitcoin (BTC) that Dr. Wright lays claim to was stolen from the exchange in March 2011. Cryptocurrency experts side with Karpeles.
Bitcoins Were Stolen
Karpeles confirmed to Cointelegraph that the Bitcoins residing at 1FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF were stolen from Mt. Gox:
“I confirm, this was confirmed in 2011 and records are also part of court documents available publicly.”
Also, speculating about Dr. Wright’s motivation in this turn of events in the Tulip Trust saga, Karpeles opined that nChain’s chief scientist is just trying to put forward some “evidence” of his status:
“To be quite honest, I think Wright is just trying to use this address as ‘evidence’ he is an early Bitcoin user with tons of BTC, and finds himself in a difficult situation where he is either a thief (if he keeps his claims up) or a fraud (if he admits being wrong)”.
The Court Accepted The Skype Transcript
Meanwhile, Dr. Wright is questioning the validity of evidence that these Bitcoins were ever stolen from Mt. Gox:
“The only evidence of the allegation regarding the origin of 1Feex Bitcoin of which I am aware is a purported Skype chat between Mark Karpeles and Jed McCaleb, but that document is only a text file rather than a validated Skype log. No other evidence or any credible evidence, such as internal / accounting records from Mt Gox, has been put forward.”
It should be noted that the Skype transcript was accepted by the court and the litigating parties have not questioned its authenticity.
Evidence Contradicts Dr. Wright
Dr. Wright claims that he made an arrangement to acquire these Bitcoins in late February 2011, finalizing the transaction on March 1 of the same year:
“I agreed to purchase the bitcoin in the 1Feex address in late February 2011 and it was transferred into that address on 1 March that year. The full amount of the Bitcoin, which is now owned by Tulip Trading Limited, remains in that address today.”
He did not specify if the transaction happened on Mt. Gox.
Kim Nilsson, a cybersecurity expert whose team spent months analyzing a series of hacks that led to the eventual collapse of Mt. Gox, completely refuted Dr. Wright’s storyline in an email to Cointelgraph:
“The strongest independent proof I can bring is that the transaction that sent the 80k BTC to that address was entirely funded by Mt. Gox addresses, and that the MtGox wallet at the time got completely emptied by this transaction, which is absolutely not normal behavior and not compatible with Wright’s claims of just buying coins from some third party. (And who is this third party then?).”
It should be noted that Mt. Gox’s order books were leaked and the leaked documents did not reveal a transaction for this amount.
The Dumbest Thief Ever?
The letter that was sent by Dr. Wright’s lawyers to Bitcoin Core developer Wladimir van der Laan (who is not funded by Blockstream) and Blockstream, states that the former lost access to these Bitcoin addresses as a result of a February 5 2020 hack. Interestingly, the purported thief has not moved any of the stolen Bitcoins. Either we are dealing with the world’s dumbest thief or Dr. Wright just keeps on webbing his web.
Sergio Demian Lerner, a notable Bitcoin researcher, agrees that it makes no sense for a thief not to move the loot: “Yes, I agree it makes no sense”. However, Nilson surmised that this is just another case of Dr. Wright trying to control the narrative:
“Far from being some obscure unknown address, plenty of people have known about this address and the theft behind it for years. Wright has presented mere assertions without evidence, yet is acting like the burden of proof is now on everyone else to sufficiently disprove him, setting arbitrary standards for what sort of evidence he will accept. Wright always tries to change the rules rather than concede anything, but no amount of obfuscation or bluster will change the facts, and this is a wildly implausible story he’s pitching with plenty of evidence against it and nothing supporting it.”
This legal exercise puts an additional nail into the coffin of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakmaoto. It is hard to imagine that Satoshi Nakamoto would even think about using legal means to gain access to some lost or stolen Bitcoins. Since the whole ethos of the cypherpunk towards electronic cash was to create such currency that would be orthogonal to the established government institutions.
Wladimir Van Der Laan Told Cointelegraph That He Has No Intentions Of Replying To The Letter:
“I’m not at least. No idea about Blockstream, I have nothing to do with them.”
Cointelegraph has reached out to Blockstream for comment, but has not received a response in time of publication.
Here Are Some Of The Upcoming Witnesses Requested To Speak In Kleiman v. Wright
The list of witnesses submitted by the litigating parties in the Kleiman v. Wright case.
The litigating parties in the Kleiman v. Wright case have presented a joint witness list, which includes Andreas Antonopoulos, Gavin Andresen, Wright’s ex-wife, and a confidential witness. The parties have requested 36 witnesses in total.
The high profile crypto case that has enchanted the crypto community for years is scheduled to go to trial in late August. The witnesses are split into fact and expert witnesses.
Some Of The Notable Fact Witnesses Include:
Gavin Andresen, former chief scientist of Bitcoin (BTC) foundation, Kimon Andreou, who co-authored a book with late Dave Kleiman, Ira Kleiman, Dave Kleinman’s brother and plaintiff in the case, Jimmy Nguyen, former CEO of nChain, Andrew O’Hagan, an English journalist, who wrote Wright’s coming out story, Craig Wright, his ex-wife Lynn, and a confidential witness, who resides outside of the court’s jurisdiction.
Confidential witness requested by the parties in Kleiman v. Wright case.
When it comes to the expert witnesses, the only name that is likely to be familiar to the crypto community is Andreas Antonopoulous, a well-known Bitcoin educator.
It is not yet clear whether all of these witnesses will make an appearance in court.
20 Questions Gavin Andresen Should Have Asked Craig Wright, But Didn’t
Questions from Gavin Andresen’s deposition that he probably should have asked Craig Wright.
The deposition of Gavin Andresen in the Kleiman v. Wright case unveils numerous new details about Craig Wright’s efforts to prove he is Satoshi Nakamoto. The deposition included questions about the proof session during which Wright allegedly signed a message with a private key from an early Bitcoin block.
The deposition took place on February 26 and 27 2020. Though Kleiman’s attorney, Velvel Freedman, presented Andresen with dozens of questions, Andresen had little to share about his own diligence in authenticating Wright’s claims.
We have grouped questions and responses by topic to make them more coherent.
Didn’t Talk About Satoshi Nakamoto
The First Set Of Questions Refers To The First Face-To-Face Meeting Between Andresen And Wright. The Answer To All These Questions Was “No”:
1. During any of these conversations, did you ask him why he had disappeared in 2011?
2. Did you ever understand why he felt like a Bond villain starting a Bitcoin company?
3. Did he — did you ask him about where all his coins were?
This next group of questions refers to the actual signing ceremony, during which, according to Andresen’s account, Wright was able to sign a message with an early Bitcoin (BTC) private key.
Andresen’s Responses To The Following Were All Negative:
4. Did you accompany the assistant to go purchase the new computer?
5. When the computer came back, how — did you verify that it was factory sealed?
6. Can you guarantee that no code under Craig’s control was installed on the computers used to verify the message?
7. And whose — did you suggest that he use Electrum?
8. Did you verify the hash digest of the download against something you had brought with you independently?
9. Can you guarantee there was an authentic version of Electrum used for this signing event?
10. Do you recall how the pub — the private key to block was stored by Craig Wright?
Craig Wright owes Andresen Bitcoin
After the botched public proof ceremony, a new plan was discussed. According to the testimony, Andresen would send some Bitcoin to one of the addresses associated with block 9, presumably controlled by Wright. Once confirmed, Wright would send the coins back to Andresen.
Andresen fulfilled his obligation, while Wright never fulfilled his. Eventually, all the talk of public proof was hushed following Wright’s alleged suicide attempt.
11. Did he ever send it back?
12. He owes you money?
A. Well, the money’s still sitting there in block 9. So I think it was half — .11 Bitcoin, because my favorite number is 11, I think.
Wright’s Alleged Fortune
Apparently, part of Wright’s plan for recruiting Andresen was to bombast him with the claims of enormous wealth — both Bitcoin and fiat. In the emails to Andresen, he kept talking about how his apparent wealth makes his life complicated. Andresen never posed any questions to clarify Wright’s ambiguous claims. Andresen responded “No” to each of the following:
13. Do you know what he meant by saying his businesses were a “front” in some ways?
14. Did you ever come to learn what he meant by that?
15. Did you ever ask him how he got a hundred — over a hundred million dollars in net worth?
Bad decision, stupid mistkes, frustration
Finally, In Addition To Apparently Admitting To Being A Fraud, Wright Mentioned Mistakes He Had Made That Were Still Haunting Him In The Present. Andresen Replied “No” To Every Question Below:
16. So you didn’t learn what the incredible mistakes were. Did you learn what the really stupid mistakes were?
17. Do you know what he meant by “bad decisions”?
18. Did you ask him what really stupid mistakes he made?
19. Do you know why he said frustration should be his middle name?
20. You didn’t ask him if stealing Bitcoin had anything to do with bad decisions?
We may never know why the man who believes himself to be the best possible replacement for Satoshi Nakamoto was so apathetic in his interactions with Craig Wright.
Andresen has since been requested as a witness for the upcoming trial, which is set to start in late August.
Judge Accepts Craig Wright’s Autism Defense, Says No To Sanctions
A judge ruled against the Kleiman legal team’s motion to impose sanctions on Craig Wright and the case has been cleared to go to trial.
Craig Wright, the man who proclaims himself Satoshi Nakamoto, will not be subject to court sanctions and has been cleared to present an expert witness in support of his autism claim, when the Kleiman case proceeds to jury trial in two weeks.
According to court documents filed June 24, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom has ruled against a motion the Kleiman legal team filed on May 21 requesting sanctions be imposed rather than proceeding to trial, in response to their claims Wright “committed perjury, produced forgeries, and engaged in judicial abuse”.
Though Judge Bloom concedes the Kleiman team had raised allegations of “unsettling issues” concerning Wright’s credibility and behavior, she ultimately ruled that all the claims “are best suited for a jury to make as fact finder at trial” and are not a reason for the court to impose sanctions.
Autism Defense Over Wright’s ‘Inconsistent Statements’
In response to the modified omnibus motion put forth by Kleiman’s legal team in May, Wright followed with a motion of his own, requesting “a licensed clinical psychologist” appear as an expert witness.
Wright said his witness had diagnosed him with “Autism Spectrum Disorder with high intellectual skills” which needed to be taken into account when assessing his somewhat inconsistent statements to the court.
Under Judge Bloom’s ruling, Wright’s autism defense is cleared to proceed at this point. He says the psychologist could provide testimony showing how his condition “could be incorrectly perceived as having provided untruthful testimony” such as providing an incomplete or “false” list of Bitcoin addresses.
Billionaire Backs Wright To The Hilt
Bitcoin SV’s billionaire benefactor Calvin Ayre tweeted his support for Wright following the judge’s decision, claiming Kleiman’s lawyers had attempted to “short circuit” the trial but the ruling would allow “Craig [to] get his day in court”.
Ayre has a history of making colorful statements when it comes to Wright. During earlier court proceedings in August, he tweeted that a different judge presiding over the case had decided Wright was Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. The judge made no such ruling.
Background of Kleiman v. Wright
The legal case involves Wright and the estate of his alleged former partner, Dave Kleiman, being represented by his brother, Ira and financially supported by a litigation funder.
After the former’s death, the legal team claims a portion of the 1.1 million Bitcoin (BTC) — worth more than $10 billion at the time of writing — allegedly mined in partnership with Kleiman, as well as access to “blockchain related intellectual property.”
Wright has repeatedly denied he and Kleiman worked together to mine BTC and develop such intellectual property, or that he stole anything belonging to his alleged former partner.
The court case which was originally filed in February 2018 will go to jury trial on July 6.
4 Experts Agree: Craig Wright’s Latest Cryptography Claims Are ‘Nonsense’
Over the past four years, nChain chief scientist Craig S. Wright’s layers of attempts to prove that he created Bitcoin have grown more complex. But according to cryptography experts consulted by CoinDesk, assessing Wright’s recent claim about how Bitcoin message signing works is straightforward – it’s just wrong.
Since 2016, Wright has tried to use cryptographic evidence to prove that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. But the pieces of proof Wright has provided, at least so far, have been vigorously disputed by experts in these forms of mathematical proofs. (Back in 2016 for instance, White Ops chief scientist Dan Kaminsky went so far as to call him the “world’s first cryptographically provable con artist.”)
But that hasn’t stopped Wright from continuing to make such assertions. Wright is currently involved in a legal dispute tied to his claim that he is Satoshi, which hinges on his purported ownership of a number of Bitcoin addresses active during the cryptocurrency’s early days and assumed by many to be tied directly to its creator. Last month, the court decided to move ahead in this matter with a trial by jury.
Debating Digital Signatures
In the most recent round of drama, an anonymous user signed a public message using 145 of those same keys claimed by Wright, calling him a “liar and a fraud” and asserting that “[Wright] doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message.”
Wright responded in a recent interview at the virtual REIMAGINE 2020 conference that “no message was signed. You cannot have a digital signature that is anonymous, by definition. Sorry. So, no signature. You can run a digital signature algorithm. It’s not signing a message.”
He added, “You either have to have an identity attribute or an identity to sign a message. Someone can’t go and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a key, I’m signing.’ If you think that, you don’t understand digital signatures at all.’”
The four cryptography experts CoinDesk talked to disagree.
“I am very surprised by the statements he’s making,” Symbolic Software applied cryptographer Nadim Kobeissi told CoinDesk. “The usage of digital signatures is indeed correct and Wright’s subsequent claims that ‘this is not how digital signatures work’ seems vague and misleading.”
Johns Hopkins associate professor and cryptographer Matthew Green argued that Wright’s explanation “makes zero sense to me as a cryptographer,” adding: “If Craig Wright is saying something meaningful here then he needs to slow down and explain it more clearly. Because the words he’s using sound like nonsense to me.”
Diving Into The Cryptography
Typically, disagreements on the internet devolve into “he-said, she-said” quagmires, where each side has their facts with little definitive truth to go around. But in this case, the math can’t lie, cryptographers argue. One plus one must always equal two, even if it’s inconvenient.
Digital signatures are crucial to Bitcoin or any blockchain project. Every time bitcoin is sent from one person to another, behind the scenes a digital signature is created proving ownership and authorizing the transfer. It is impossible to send bitcoin without them.
The user takes a private key (that presumably only they have access to), then produces a signature proving that they actually control the address and are the rightful owners of the bitcoin held by it.
Users can do more than transfer bitcoin in this way. A lesser-known application is that a bitcoin owner can use their private key to sign written messages, proving the owner of the key is the one who signed the message.
That’s what happened here, according to cryptographers.
Sending A Message
Using such a Bitcoin private key, an anonymous person was able to sign the aforementioned message calling Wright “a liar and a fraud.” The experts say this very action strongly implies that Wright does not control the addresses he claims he does, (or at least, that he isn’t the sole possessor of the keys).
What follows this message is a lengthy list of seemingly random strings of characters. According to cryptographers, these are digital signatures associated with each address, proving that the anonymous poster is the true owner of the private key associated with the list of bitcoin addresses.
This is all public information that anyone with the know-how to do so can mathematically verify. By looking at the signature, the signed message and the bitcoin addresses, anyone can “check” that the owner of an address, that is, the one who holds that private key, indeed signed the message.
Cryptographer and Blockstream developer Tim Ruffing, for instance, said that he checked a “few, random signatures” himself, and found them to be valid.
Green outlines two possibilities for why these signatures would be valid. One is, simply, that “the person who signed the message possesses the corresponding wallet secret keys for those addresses.”
The alternative, according to Green, is technically possible but extremely improbable. “The other is that they’ve broken the ECDSA signing scheme on the Secp256k1 elliptic curve. [It] would be an amazing feat of cryptanalysis that would fundamentally shake the cryptographic foundations that secure the Internet, and it would certainly break Bitcoin. I do not think that is likely at all, and so I’d bank on the first possibility,” he said.
Missing The Mark On Identity
In short, cryptographers told CoinDesk that these keys are sufficient to sign such a message. And while Wright argues in the REIMAGINE 2020 interview that an additional “identity attribute” is required, cryptographers dispute that assertion.
“The ‘identity’ that Wright talks about is in fact the wallets themselves, because in Bitcoin, wallets are public signing keys,” Kobeissi said. Green concurred, pointing to bitcoin addresses as the built-in identity attribute to bitcoin.
Bitcoin security researcher and IOV Labs head of innovation Sergio Demian Lerner said he believes that Wright was conflating two phrases in an effort to mislead listeners.
Lerner pointed to the “colloquial” definition of a digital signature, which he describes as “a method for an entity (legal or individual) to sign a document and not be able to deny it later or back-date a signature,” he said.
Wright “used a colloquial definition of the term to confuse non-technical people, because a technical person knows that the published signatures are enough to prove that the publisher has the private keys, and the identity of the owner is irrelevant for the proof,” Lerner said.
Given that the digital signatures are valid in a cryptographic sense, Kobeissi argues there aren’t many possible interpretations.
According To Kobeissi:
“There are only two possible explanations: Craig Wright does indeed own these 145 wallets and used them to sign a message claiming that he himself is a liar and a fraud. [Or,] Craig Wright is indeed a liar and a fraud and was exposed by one or more wallet-owners who did not appreciate him making false claims on their wallets.”
Because of these claims, as well as others that Wright has made, Kobeissi went further: “Having followed Craig Wright’s tale, I personally think that there is as much validity to the claim that Craig Wright is the inventor of Bitcoin as there is validity to the claim that the Earth is flat.”
In an emailed response to CoinDesk, Wright doubled down on his claims about digital signatures.
He framed digital signatures as a legal matter, rather than a technical one. The definition of a digital signature that Wright provided in his emailed response to CoinDesk is pulled from Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary.
“Advanced digital signatures include the use of digital signature algorithms. Unfortunately, many so-called cryptographers and armchair experts failed to comprehend the nature of the system or the problem they are seeking to solve. They attempt to solve insoluble issues such as non-repudiation.
Non-repudiation is not a technical issue; it is a legal concept, and it remains a fact that repudiation may always occur and that no matter what algorithm is used, a person could have been forced or coerced. No technical systems solve this problem,” Wright told CoinDesk.
He added: “When judges talk about the need for a signature to provide that ‘an authenticating intention can be demonstrated,’ they are stating the authentication of the individual and their name. They are not talking about the authentication of the algorithm. Unfortunately, too many people in the Cryptocurrency space think that they can alter the meaning of words and create a new reality. They cannot.”
Cryptographers Are Not Convinced
Kobeissi’s response was brief, calling Wright’s statement “an incredible amount of bullshit.”
Lerner, after also reading Wright’s response, restated his suggestion that Wright is using the wrong definition of “digital signatures” to confuse people.
“Any person understands that ‘the square root’ is a mathematical term, and it has nothing to do with the colloquial meaning of the words ‘square’ and ‘root,’” he said. As such, Lerner said, even non-cryptographers can also understand that Wright’s comments don’t make sense.
Lerner further argued Wright is using this parallel definition in an attempt to further his argument in the court case he is involved in.
“This person emphasises that if he somehow convinces a judge that he owns a million bitcoins that nobody has claimed (and that some people think belong to Satoshi), then the judge may rule in his favour and magically give him control,” he said.
Craig Wright Apparently in No Hurry to Pay $60K for Failed Suit
According to the Norwegian Hodlnaut, it seems that Wright is ignoring his legal obligations following a failed legal battle.
Craig Wright, a self-proclaimed creator of Bitcoin (BTC), is reportedly ignoring a court ruling that requires him to pay legal fees for a libel suit against Twitter crypto persona Hodlonaut.
According to Hodlonaut, a court in Norway ruled that Wright should pay $60,000 in legal costs for the failed libel suit in early June 2020.
In an Aug. 13 tweet, Hodlonaut said that the fees should have been paid out by Wright within two weeks after the judgement on June 8. However, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto “has not paid a cent” in more than two months after the judgement, Hodlonaut claims.
Wright did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending any new information.
The libel suit against Hodlonaut is one of a series of similar lawsuits Wright had initiated against major crypto personas like Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, early Bitcoin investor Roger Ver, and podcaster Peter McCormack.
Filed over the course of 2019, the suits sought to deny claims that Wright was lying about being the true creator of Bitcoin. None of these suits have turned out to be successful and Wright has abandoned several.
Alongside multiple libel suits, Wright is the center of the long-running legal battle initiated by the estate of his former partner, Dave Kleiman. In this case, Wright has to prove his access to 1.1 million bitcoins that he allegedly mined together with Kleiman in early days of Bitcoin.
Yesterday, Calvin Ayre, one of the most high-profile supporters of the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, announced that he is funding a new documentary and book about the life of Wright.
Craig Wright Files Another Libel Suit Against Roger Ver After 2019 Fail
Craig Wright and Roger Ver are finally in the same jurisdiction.
Craig Wright, a self-proclaimed creator of Bitcoin (BTC), is reportedly continuing to file more defamation suits against perceived rivals, despite none of his previous attempts turning out to be successful.
On Aug. 25, Wright filed a libel suit against major industry figure, Roger Ver, with the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda, industry publication CoinGeek reports.
According to an official defamation claim obtained by CoinGeek, Wright is seeking legal action against Ver for publicly stating that Wright is not the true Satoshi Nakamoto — the anonymous creator of Bitcoin.
The court document specifically refers to Ver’s video message to Wright in May 2019, stating, “Craig Wright is a liar and a fraud, so sue me, again.”
The new defamation claim seeks an injunction restraining Ver from further stating similar “defamatory” allegations on platforms like YouTube and Twitter as well as payment as compensation for the defamation, the document reads.
As reported, Wright previously served Ver with a libel suit in the High Court of England and Wales for calling him a liar and fraud in a YouTube video in 2019.
The video was subsequently stricken for violating YouTube community guidelines, which prompted Wright’s libel suit in May 2019. Despite the video being removed from YouTube, Ver’s message to Wright is still available on his official Twitter account as of press time.
The High Court of England subsequently dismissed Wright’s libel suit in July 2019 due to questions of jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales also dropped Wright’s appeal, claiming that the suit is not a U.K.-related issue in May 2020.
The new defamation suit will apparently have more chances in terms of jurisdiction as both Wright and Ver are citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, according to the court document.
As Cointelegraph reported, Wright is an Australian citizen allegedly residing in London. The Australian scientist reportedly claimed to be a citizen from Antigua and Barbuda and not from Australia in 2019.
A citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Ver apparently acquired his Antigua and Barbuda citizenship through the country’s Citizenship Investment Program.
Wright and Ver did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
Craig Wright’s Summary Judgment Denied – Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit Heads to Trial
On Monday afternoon, Judge Beth Bloom, from the District Court of Florida, denied Craig Wright’s summary judgment and the infamous billion-dollar bitcoin lawsuit will go to trial in January. The court published a 93-page decision on the matter, as Judge Bloom detailed that “a genuine dispute of material fact exists” for a number of the complaints.
Since Valentine’s Day in 2018, Craig Wright, the Australian who claims he invented Bitcoin, has been involved in a billion-dollar lawsuit. The case concerns the rightful ownership of an alleged 1.1 million BTC worth roughly $11 billion using today’s exchange rates.
The plaintiff Ira Kleiman initiated the case and Ira’s lawsuit accuses Wright of manipulating his late brother’s bitcoin assets after his brother David Kleiman passed away in 2013.
Representatives of David Kleiman’s estate say Craig Wright “perpetrated a scheme against Dave’s estate to seize Dave’s bitcoins and his rights to certain intellectual property associated with the Bitcoin technology.”
Just recently Wright’s lawyers put in a motion for a summary judgment, which would have stopped the Kleiman’s from bringing the lawsuit to trial. However, Judge Beth Bloom completely denied Wright’s summary judgment motion on Monday. Wright’s summary judgment motion attempted to argue that the Florida court had no jurisdiction over the matters but failed.
“Upon review, [Craig Wright] presents no record evidence to support a defense that the court lacks personal jurisdiction over him,” Bloom wrote in her order. The order shows that the trial will take place on January 4, 2021.
After the judgment, the attorney Stephen Palley, partner at Anderson Kill, discussed a number of pages and the opinions from Judge Beth Bloom’s 93-page order on Twitter.
“Wright made 6 arguments, all of which the judge ultimately says are losers,” Palley wrote. “Next, the judge will get into the facts, and identify ones that are not ‘genuinely in dispute.’”
Palley further added:
There’s no dispute (at least based on the evidence) that Wright described himself and Kleiman as Satoshi on multiple occasions. These statements doesn’t mean that when made they were true (that he is Satoshi), btw; let’s see if the Courts get there (doubtful).
A number of people on social media and cryptocurrency forums discussed Judge Beth Bloom’s decision to deny Wright’s summary judgment.
Longtime bitcoiner, Daniel Krawisz, said on Twitter that the court decision will be meaningful for the entire crypto market.
“Whatever happens to Craig Wright in court will matter for everybody in the whole crypto market,” Krawisz tweeted.
“You can’t escape him just by staying away from BSV,” he added. A few people did not believe Krawisz’s statements as a number of crypto advocates think Craig Wright is completely irrelevant in regard to the digital currency ecosystem in general.
“I won’t be affected, at all,” one person responded to Krawisz, and another person replied “exactly zero.”
Craig Wright Ultimatum: Take ‘My’ Bitcoin Whitepaper Down Or Face Lawsuit
Legal threats by self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright, have caused one site to remove what he claims is “his” Bitcoin whitepaper. But others are refusing to give up so easily.
Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist who claims to be Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, has threatened legal action against the owners of two Bitcoin (BTC) websites whom he accused of stealing his whitepaper and other intellectual property.
As announced on Jan. 21, Bitcoin.org along with another website, Bitcoincore.org, had received allegations of copyright infringement from Craig Wright’s lawyers.
The counsel reportedly claimed that Wright, as Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, was the legal copyright holder of the Bitcoin whitepaper, that he owned the Bitcoin name and trademark, as well as the two websites listed above. The announcement stated:
“Yesterday both Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org received allegations of copyright infringement of the Bitcoin whitepaper by lawyers representing Craig Steven Wright. In this letter, they claim Craig owns the copyright to the paper, the Bitcoin name, and ownership of bitcoin.org.
The announcement continues, “They also claim he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, and the original owner of bitcoin.org. Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org were both asked to take down the whitepaper. We believe these claims are without merit, and refuse to do so.”
But while the owner of Bitcoin.org (a pseudonymous developer known as Cobra) has stated his refusal to be intimidated by the threat of what they’ve called “false allegations”, the owner of Bitcoincore.org has already thrown in the towel.
According to Cobra, their co-accused over at Bitcoincore.org acquiesced to the requests of Craig Wright’s lawyers almost immediately. Cobra’s announcement stated:
* “Unfortunately, without consulting us, Bitcoin Core developers scrambled to remove the Bitcoin whitepaper from bitcoincore.org, in response to these allegations of copyright infringement, lending credence to these false claims.
Cobra said the local copy of the whitepaper hosted on Bitcoincore.org was removed within less than two hours, adding a link to the Github modification which shows the change was made:
* “The Bitcoin Core website was modified to remove references to the whitepaper, their local copy of the whitepaper PDF was deleted, and with less than 2 hours of public review, this change was merged.”
All references to the Bitcoin whitepaper have apparently been removed from the Bitcoincore.org website. Cobra declared that this act of self-censorship would only lend credence to the notion that Craig Wright’s claims were legitimate:
* “By surrendering in this way, the Bitcoin Core project has lent ammunition to Bitcoin’s enemies, engaged in self-censorship, and compromised its integrity. This surrender will no doubt be weaponized to make new false claims, like that the Bitcoin Core developers ‘know’ CSW to be Satoshi Nakamoto and this is why they acted in this way.”
However, the owner of Bitcoincore.org, and current maintainer of the Bitcoin code, Wladimir J. van der Laan (@orionwl on Twitter), responded quickly, telling his Twitter audience that this issue was not a hill worth dying on:
“So let this be clear: I’m happy to maintain the bitcoin core code, but I will not personally be a martyr for bitcoin, it’s up to you as bitcoiners to protect it.”
Craig Wright has brought several lawsuits against various figures in the cryptocurrency space for in some way refuting the notion that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, and the true proprietor of Bitcoin. None of the cases have been settled in his favor thus far.
Van der Laan appeared to suggest that the easiest course of action was to play ball with Wright’s lawyers, adding that his focus remained on the Bitcoin system itself. He tweeted:
“This thing is about decentralization and distributed systems, not personal macho posturing, i have no interest in that and definitely don’t get paid enough to do so.”
Cobra ended his announcement on Bitcoin.org by reiterating the open-source status of the MIT license under which Bitcoin and its whitepaper were published, stating:
“The Bitcoin whitepaper was included in the original Bitcoin project files with the project clearly published under the MIT license by Satoshi Nakamoto. We believe there is no doubt we have the legal right to host the Bitcoin whitepaper.”
Cobra said the Bitcoin whitepaper will continue to be hosted on Bitcoin.org, and that they hoped other websites would follow suit in resisting Craig Wright’s attempts at intimidation.
Bitcoin Whitepaper Fight Could End Up In Court As Both Parties Escalate Drama
The dispute over the legal ownership of the Bitcoin whitepaper could make it all the way to the courts as one website owner refuses to back down from Craig Wright’s legal threats.
The unfolding drama surrounding the ownership of the Bitcoin (BTC) whitepaper could very well make its way to the courts, after both sides embroiled in the dispute told Cointelegraph they’re ready to “go all the way.”
On Jan. 21, the owners of two Bitcoin websites were threatened with legal action by lawyers representing Craig Wright, the man who claims to be Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright claims to be the original copyright holder of the Bitcoin whitepaper, and demanded that both sites remove their locally hosted copies of the document on threat of legal action.
One website, Bitcoincore.org, has since removed the whitepaper, reasoning that becoming entangled in a costly legal battle with the litigation-happy Wright would achieve little, and isn’t a hill worth dying on.
However, the owner of Bitcoin.org, which was also targeted by Wright, has so far refused to remove the whitepaper, and said he has no intention of doing so.
Speaking exclusively to Cointelegraph, the pseudonymous developer known as Cobra said he’d be willing to defend himself in court should legal proceedings be brought against him.
* “No legal proceedings have actually started, but we’re prepared to go all the way and defend ourselves if it comes down to it.”
Ed Pownall of CoinGeek, who has spoken on behalf of Craig Wright in the past, told Cointelegraph that Cobra and others who refused to comply had 4 options ahead of them:
* “Do not respond and do nothing: this will result in Craig issuing court proceedings against them for copyright infringement”
* “Respond to our letters and tell us where to go: as above”
* “Respond to our letters telling us they are taking down the WP / the publications of the WP from their websites, and they actually do so: no action to take against them”
* “Do not respond to our letters but still take down the WP / the publications of the WP from their websites: as per 3”
When presented with this 4-point ultimatum from Wright’s team, Cobra’s response was blunt, appearing to signal a preference for option number 1. He said:
“Seems like what I thought, and we’ll just not respond, f*** them.”
Pownall said that should Cobra fail to respond to legal proceedings, Wright’s counsel would be willing to apply to the courts for a default judgement, where a defendant who fails to respond or offer a defence is judged without trial.
In 2019, Wright attempted to sue Ethereum (ETH) creator Vitalik Buterin for defamation after Buterin ridiculed Wright’s claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto, calling him a fraud. In this instance, Buterin simply didn’t respond to the letter and the deadline eventually ran out.
Wright has previously launched lawsuits against numerous figures in the cryptocurrency space, including Bitcoin podcaster, Peter McCormack, Bitcoin developer, Adam Back, and founder of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver — all with varying degrees of success.
Why Everyone From Square To Facebook Is Now Hosting The Bitcoin White Paper
The uploads come in response to legal threats by Craig Wright.
Some of the Bitcoin community’s most prominent voices (and also Facebook subsidiary Novi) are now hosting the Bitcoin white paper.
The move follows legal threats from nChain Chief Scientist Craig Wright levied against the nonprofit that has long hosted crypto’s foundational document.
“Yesterday, both Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org received allegations of copyright infringement of the Bitcoin white paper by lawyers representing Craig Steven Wright,” the nonprofit wrote Thursday morning.
Bitcoin was created by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, who has yet to be conclusively identified. Wright has repeatedly made claims that he is Satoshi.
Seemingly in response to the takedown notice, a wave of crypto firms have published the white paper on their websites. As of press time they include:
* The Crypto Arm Of Payments Giant Square
* Bitcoin Development Funder Chaincode Labs
* Crypto Venture Fund Paradigm
* Policy Think-Tank Coin Center
* Facebook Stablecoin Subsidiary Novi
* Bitcoin Financial Services Firm Nydig
* Self-Custody App Casa
Others are likely to join in.
Miami Uploads Bitcoin White Paper To Municipal Website
Mayor Suarez once again pledged to turn Miami into a “hub for crypto innovation.”
The city of Miami on Wednesday uploaded a copy of the Bitcoin white paper to its municipal website, joining a growing chorus of governments and companies now hosting bitcoin’s original blueprint.
* Mayor Francis Suarez emphasized his commitment to “turn Miami into a hub for crypto innovation” in his tweet announcing the upload. He’s been pumping the U.S. city’s potential as a landing ground for California tech expats for weeks on social media.
* As such, Suarez’s decision may have less to do with pushing back against Craig Wright’s legal threats (the original catalyst for this white paper upload movement) than with currying favor with bitcoin maximalists.
* Miami is the “first municipal government to host Satoshi’s white paper,” Suarez asserted.
Craig Wright Demands Bitcoin Developers Give Him Access To Stolen Mt. Gox Coins
Craig Wright claims someone “stole” 110k BTC from him from wallets connected to the Mt. Gox hack. He wants Bitcoin developers to get them back.
Craig Wright’s legal pursuits have leapfrogged from threatening to sue Bitcoin contributors over their hosting the Bitcoin white paper to a legal threat that sets his sights on bitcoin connected to the Mt. Gox hack.
The Bitcoin SV progenitor and self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator sent a Letter Before Action to Bitcoin Core contributors this week through his law firm, Ontier LLP. In the letter, Wright’s Tulip Trading Ltd. (TTL) demands access to two wallets that contain 31,000 and 79,957 BTC.
The wallets, curiously, are connected to the hack that drained 800,000 BTC from the world’s then most-popular bitcoin exchange in 2014. Wright claims the bitcoin in the wallets were stolen from him last year.
Even though Bitcoin Core contributors have no control over the network’s wallets, Wright wants Bitcoin’s developers to hand him the keys.
“In accordance with their fiduciary duties,” the letter reads, “each of the Developers is obliged to: a. Provide access and control to TTL of the BTC in the Addresses, which it owns but cannot access or control due to the hack/theft. b. Take all reasonable steps to ensure that TTL has access to and control of the BTC in the Addresses.”
The letter alleges that “on or around 5 February 2020, unknown hackers stole the private keys for the Addresses and deleted copies of the keys on Dr Craig Wright’s computer, preventing him from accessing the digital assets at those Addresses, which he operated on behalf of TTL.”
‘Doomed To Failure’
Craig Wright has made repeated headlines for his unsubstantiated claim that he is Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and he has even sued those who have challenged this claim. Most recently, he threatened to sue for copyright infringement Bitcoin Core contributors who hosted Bitcoin’s white paper.
Ontier LLP says the letter could materialize into legal action if the recipients do not comply. However, the request in the letter – for Bitcoin developers to seize funds in Bitcoin addresses they don’t own – is literally impossible.
To seize these funds would require the multi-million (if not billion) dollar endeavor of reorganizing Bitcoin’s blockchain history with a 51% attack. The developers could also fork the blockchain to seize the funds, but that blockchain would not be Bitcoin – it would be just another fork.
For myriad reasons, Stephen Palley, a partner at Anderson Kill law firm, told CoinDesk “a lawsuit like this is doomed to failure.”
“While I can’t speak to English law, the notion that a bunch of open-source developers will be compelled to fork public blockchains and require miners and nodes to adopt the fork so that Wright can receive funds that he claims were stolen is, in my opinion, not credible. [It] will do nothing more than force people to pay legal fees – all of which are likely going to be owed by Wright.”
Palley, whose firm is not involved in this lawsuit, said the claim that open-source developers owe Wright fiduciary obligations and damages for losses in absence of a contract “is novel and faces considerable legal and factual problems.”
“I can tell you with near certainty that any judgment in that case would not be enforceable in the U.S. And I doubt it will get very far in English courts either. I’m hopeful that the Bitcoin community will come together as it has in the past and provide support to any developer who has received these letters. We’ve already heard from some people who are outraged by this maneuver and expect to hear from more,” Palley concluded.
Mt. Gox Victim Issues Legal Notice To Craig Wright Over Stolen Funds In 1Feex Address
If Craig Wright did control the wallet holding stolen Mt. Gox coins, he may soon face a lawsuit of his own.
A law firm representing Danny Brewster, who lost funds in the Mt. Gox hack, may take legal action against Craig Wright for his recent admission that he used to have control over a wallet connected to the former bitcoin exchange.
In his latest legal threat to Bitcoin Core contributors, Craig Wright claims ownership over a wallet address (1FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF) that contains over 79,000 BTC that had been filched from Mt. Gox between 2011 and 2013. He is demanding the developers restore his access to that address.
Preston Byrne of the Anderson Kill law firm penned a letter to Wright yesterday on behalf of Brewster, whose lost bitcoin from the Mt. Gox hack ended up in the wallet in question.
If Wright is indeed the rightful owner of the infamous 1Feex wallet containing stolen Mt. Gox funds, then Brewster may seek an asset preservation order and bring a lawsuit against the Bitcoin SV creator.
“You and your clients Tulip Trust Limited and Craig Steven Wright, and their agents, are hereby placed on notice that our client and many others similarly situated have an equitable interest in the [b]itcoin held at 1Feex address in an amount not less than, and likely exceeding, $17,500,000 … Your client owes our client, and likely others, a legal and equitable duty to hold any funds received by your client … on constructive trust for our client or others similarly situated.”
The letter says this duty extends to the bitcoin on the address as well as any other bitcoin fork coins such as bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin SV.
It also demands that Wright “preserve all evidence” related to the wallet, including emails, social posts and “other electronically stored information.”
If Wright never had control over the bitcoin in the 1Feex address and can confirm this fact, then the two parties “may avoid any unnecessary litigation,” the letter concludes.
Craig Wright Can Serve Bitcoin.Org Over Publication of Bitcoin White Paper, UK Court Rules
The move is largely procedural and does not settle any questions around the origin of the Bitcoin white paper.
Craig Wright, chief scientist at nChain, has won a minor procedural legal victory in support of his quest to claim control of the rights to the white paper that laid the groundwork for the bitcoin (BTC, -1.28%) cryptocurrency.
According to a Reuters report, London’s High Court will allow Wright to serve a copyright lawsuit against the publisher of bitcoin.org, who goes by the pseudonym Cobra.
The thrust of the order allows Wright to serve the lawsuit via a generic email, or Twitter, given Cobra is not an acknowledged U.K. resident. Cobra has “not disclosed a name, identity or address, according to court filings issued on Wednesday,” Reuters states.
The move is largely procedural and does not settle any questions around the origin of the Bitcoin white paper, which is the subject of the claim and which Wright claims to have written.
Wright’s Long List Of Litigations
The court’s decisions is the most recent development in a legal battle that has stretched out for years.
In particular, this lawsuit stems from Wright’s widely disputed claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the Bitcoin white paper, the groundbreaking document that laid the groundwork for what is now the world’s leading cryptocurrency.
According to Wright’s reasoning, because he is Nakamoto, no other entity is authorized to host the paper. The ethos is at odds with the open-source and decentralized nature of Bitcoin. Wright sent out a rash of cease and desist letters to Bitcoin Core developers, for example, over their hosting of the white paper.
In response, the paper was initially taken down by bitcoin.org, given how the legal case would involve time, money and energy, commodities the group said it didn’t want to waste on a lawsuit.
Soon after, multiple companies and organizations decided to host the Bitcoin white paper in solidarity. These included Square Crypto, crypto venture fund Paradigm, policy think-tank Coin Center and Facebook stablecoin subsidiary Novi, among others.
In response to a cease and desist order sent to Square, the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) filed a lawsuit against Wright in the U.K. over his copyright claims. The Alliance was formed in September 2020 and founded by Square to pool patents and preserve the industry’s open-source spirit.
The ramifications, including those from this lawsuit, should force Wright to provide conclusive proof that he is Nakamoto, something he has failed to do thus far.
A New Lawsuit Could Weigh In On Who’s The Real Inventor Of Bitcoin—Why Its Creation Is Still Shrouded In Mystery
A copyright lawsuit brought by Craig Wright — the man who has claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym used by the creator of bitcoin — could finally put to bed the years-long mystery over who actually invented the multibillion-dollar cryptocurrency.
That’s because the success of the lawsuit would likely depend on Wright proving that he did, in fact, author the white paper that originally laid out the technology behind bitcoin. And the case could force the U.K. court to weigh in on whether or not Wright is the actual inventor of bitcoin, according to Reuters.
And in fact, Wright says he has evidence that can prove he is the author of the white paper.
The Lawsuit, And How Wright Could Prove He Invented Bitcoin
London’s High Court ruled on Thursday that Wright, the Australian computer scientist who first said in 2016 that he created bitcoin eight years earlier, could serve his copyright lawsuit against the anonymous operator and publisher of the website bitcoin.org, according to Reuters.
Wright’s lawsuit accuses bitcoin.org of copyright infringement for displaying a copy of the infamous bitcoin white paper, which he claims he wrote in 2008 outlining what bitcoin is and how it works. He’s asking the court to force bitcoin.org to remove the white paper from the website.
Bitcoin.org has refused to remove the white paper from the website, and posted a statement in January saying Wright’s “claims are without merit.”
Wright’s goal is to provide evidence that he is the author of the 2008 white paper and, thus, that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym used by the mysterious creator of bitcoin, his lawyer told Reuters.
“In bringing this copyright claim our client, Dr. Wright, will be serving evidence in support of his assertion that he authored the bitcoin white paper, that he released in 2008,” Simon Cohen, a lawyer with British law firm Ontier who is representing Wright, said in a statement provided to CNBC Make It. “The case will turn on whether the court is satisfied that Dr. Wright did indeed author — and owns the copyright in — the white paper and, therefore, that he is Satoshi Nakamoto.”
Wright has not yet revealed exactly what evidence he plans to put forward to support his claims in court. But there is a convincing way to prove whether Wright is Nakamoto, says William and Mary Law School professor Eric Chason, who researches cryptocurrencies.
“The strongest evidence that Mr. Wright could put on would be if he could show control over some of the early bitcoin mined by Satoshi Nakamoto,” Chason says.
Yes, experts believe that the inventor (or inventors) of bitcoin mined a portfolio of more than 1 million bitcoin — a stash that today would be worth just shy of $50 billion.
Wright would also likely need to rely on a cryptographic expert to verify the authenticity of his evidence in order to win the approval of a court, says Chason.
And Wright may have other avenues to explore to support his copyright claim, according to Chason.
For instance, he could show the ability to access Nakamoto’s accounts on the online forums where the bitcoin creator interacted with developers and the cryptocurrency community in the early days of bitcoin.
Or, if he has computer files showing research or writing on bitcoin as a concept that pre-date the 2008 white paper, or even dated correspondence (such as an email to a colleague showing an early draft of the paper or bitcoin research), that could be enough to sway the court.
“It would be a great courtroom drama, though, if he could just go to court and press a button” transferring control of some of the bitcoin known to have been mined by Nakamoto, Chason says. “That would be convincing, and a pretty cool story.”
How The Mystery Came To Be
In 2008, the nine-page white paper outlining the idea for bitcoin was published to a mailing list for cryptography enthusiasts by an author calling themself Satoshi Nakamoto. The white paper described bitcoin as “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash [that] would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
Nakamoto then officially launched the first version of bitcoin software in early 2009, collaborating with software developers and coders online over the next couple of years to improve the software. In 2010, the value of a single bitcoin was roughly 8 cents, and by the end of the year the total value of the cryptocurrency topped $1 million.
However, no one ever knew the true identity of Nakamoto, as experts believe the pseudonym could have represented either one person, or even a group of people.
The mystery around Nakamoto only deepened in 2011, when the pseudonymous creator stopped working on bitcoin altogether and essentially disappeared, handing control of the open-source code that enables the use of bitcoin to software engineer Gavin Andresen, who was among the developers who helped to refine bitcoin’s software in its early days.
Meanwhile, whoever Nakamoto is may have walked away with about 5% of the cryptocurrency’s total value that had been mined since 2009.
Who people think Satoshi Nakamoto is
Over the past decade, as bitcoin has grown to reach a total market value of roughly $1 trillion, speculation has swirled over the true identity of its creator.
In 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk publicly denied that he was Nakamoto after blog posts suggested he might be behind bitcoin.
Three years earlier, a California man named Dorian Nakamoto (whose birth name was Satoshi) had been reported to be the bitcoin creator, but he later denied those claims and said he’d never even heard of bitcoin.
Other potential candidates have included computer engineer Nick Szabo, who invented a bitcoin predecessor called Bit Gold in the late 1990s. However, Szabo himself has regularly denied being Nakamoto.
While Nakamoto’s online posts originally identified himself as a man in his 30s living in Japan, some people have pointed to Nakamoto’s early posts in online forums, which used British spellings and phrases like “colour” and “bloody hard,” as proof that the bitcoin creator could be originally from England or a British Commonwealth.
Craig Wright Has Said He’s Nakamoto Before
Wright stepped forward in 2016 to say that he is Nakamoto, and the inventor of bitcoin. In a blog post at the time, the Australian computer engineer and entrepreneur thanked the online community of bitcoin developers and miners for promoting the cryptocurrency’s massive growth since its launch.
“This incredible community’s passion and intellect and perseverance has taken my small contribution and nurtured it, enhanced it, breathed life into it. You have given the world a great gift. Thank you,” Wright wrote.
Wright’s claims garnered support from some members of the bitcoin community, including Jon Matonis, co-founder of the nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation. However, Andresen, who took control of bitcoin’s code from Nakamoto but never met the creator(s), initially supported Wright’s claims but later admitted he had his doubts about whether or not Wright is Nakamoto, adding that it was at least possible Wright had fooled him by manufacturing fake proof meant to prove he was Nakamoto.
Other skeptics have called Wright’s claims a “scam,” with security researchers claiming that Wright had put forth fraudulent cryptographic proof to back his assertion that he is Nakamoto. Wright had digitally signed a message using cryptographic keys (a string of data, like letters or numbers) associated with Nakamoto’s bitcoin.
But many researchers believe that Wright simply copied an existing cryptographic signature of Nakamoto’s and tried to pass it off as new and unique.
In a 2020 interview, Wright hit back at his doubters, saying he felt they would remain skeptical of him even if he did show he had control over Nakamoto’s bitcoin. “People would be running around saying I stole coins .. or some other bullshit,” he told the tech website Modern Consensus.
In its statement responding to Wright’s copyright lawsuit, the operators of bitcoin.org also wrote: “Satoshi Nakamoto has a known PGP public key [a type of cryptography key], therefore it is cryptographically possible for someone to verify themselves to be Satoshi Nakamoto. Unfortunately, Craig has been unable to do this.”
Wright has not publicly responded to bitcoin.org’s statement.
Wright is actually engaged in another ongoing lawsuit in the U.S., where the brother of deceased computer programmer Dave Kleiman claims that Wright stole more than 1.1 million bitcoin that Wright and Kleiman had mined through a firm they created together in 2011, called W&K Info Defense Research LLC. Filed in 2018, that lawsuit is expected to go to trial later this year. (Wright’s attorneys responded in a court filing after the lawsuit was filed, denying Kleiman’s allegations and calling the lawsuit an “attempted shakedown.”)
As for the bitcoin copyright suit, if Wright can prove he is Nakamoto, then that would prove he is the author of the white paper and he could exercise his copyright, Chason says.
Craig Wright’s Multibillion-Dollar Bitcoin Trial Moves To Year’s End
The trial over a share of $65.2 billion in bitcoin has already been moved several times.
A trial involving cryptocurrency entrepreneur Craig Wright and the estate of his former business partner has again been rescheduled, this time for Nov. 1.
* In an order signed late last month, Judge Beth Bloom at the District Court in the Southern District of Florida granted a joint motion by Wright and plaintiff Ira Kleiman to move the date.
* The judge also moved the calendar call to Sept. 14 and extended the due date for demonstrative and summary exhibits to Aug. 31, as the parties had requested.
* The status of the case will be discussed in a conference on Tuesday, according to the order.
* In September of last year, Wright attempted to prevent the case from going to a full trial by filing a motion seeking summary judgment. The motion was summarily denied by Judge Bloom.
* Since then, the trial date has been moved several times.
* Kleiman brought the case on behalf of the estate of his late brother David who had worked with Wright during bitcoin (BTC, -5.91%)’s early days.
* Wright is being sued for half of his alleged fortune of 1.1 million bitcoin (approximately $65.2 billion at today’s prices) he claims the two mined together, as well as intellectual property.
* NChain chief scientist Wright has controversially proclaimed himself as the inventor of bitcoin, even going so far as to threaten developers with legal action on the basis of copyright infringement.
Craig Wright Wins Default Judgment, Bitcoin.org Must Remove Bitcoin White Paper
Bitcoin.org must now remove the Bitcoin white paper, host a notice referring to the court’s judgment, and pay $48,600 to cover Wright’s legal costs.
Self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto and Bitcoin SV proponent Craig Wright has won a legal battle claiming copyright infringement on the part of Bitcoin.org for hosting the Bitcoin white paper.
Wright won by default after the website’s pseudonymous owner, “Cøbra,” chose not to mount a defense.
Bitcoin.org must now remove the white paper and display a notice referring to the judgment and cough up at least 35,000 British pounds ($48,600) to cover Wright’s legal costs. Cøbra responded to the ruling on Twitter:
Onter LLP, Wright’s legal representation, celebrated the victory as “an important development in Dr Wright’s quest to obtain judicial vindication of his copyright in his White Paper.”
“Dr Wright does not wish to restrict access to his White Paper,” wrote Onter senior associate, Simon Cohen. “However, he does not agree that it should be used by supporters and developers of alternative assets, such as Bitcoin Core, to promote or otherwise misrepresent those assets as being Bitcoin given that they do not support or align with the vision for Bitcoin as he set out in his White Paper.”
In January, Wright issued letters to Bitcoin.org, Bitcoin.com and Bitcoincore.org, demanding they remove copies of the Bitcoin white paper from their websites and asserting they were infringing his intellectual property.
In April, Wright received permission to serve Cøbra outside of United Kingdom jurisdiction by email, with the Bitcoin.org operator having 22 days to respond from April 26.
Last month, Cøbra tweeted that they had missed the deadline. Responding to speculation, they may have missed the deadline to maintain anonymity, Cobra said: “No. I didn’t show up because defending against nonsense is a waste of time.”
Bitcoin.org Blocks Access To Bitcoin Software Download (In Addition To White Paper) In The UK
Apart from removing the white paper, Cøbra has removed access to Bitcoin software for site visitors from the United Kingdom.
It is no longer possible to download the Bitcoin Core software from Bitcoin.org if you visit the website with a United Kingdom internet protocol (IP) address. A notice on the website reads: “This software is presently not available for download in the UK, and download links will not work if you are located within the United Kingdom.”
Indeed, attempting to proceed with downloading the Bitcoin (BTC) software from the site using a U.K. IP returns a “404 error.”
Detailing the reason for blocking access to the software download for U.K. site visitors, Bitcoin.org’s pseudonymous owner Cøbra responded to a tweet stating:
“The white paper is in the blockchain and can be retrieved through the software. I’m not allowed to distribute the whitepaper on bitcoin.org, or ‘in any other way.’ We have to follow the law.”
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, a U.K. court ruled in favor of self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright in a copyright infringement case against Cøbra and Bitcoin.org for hosting the Bitcoin white paper.
However, the default judgment was only because Cøbra elected not to mount a defense. As part of the ruling, Cøbra was also instructed to cover Wright’s legal fees to the tune of 35,000 British pounds (about $48,600).
The judgment is the latest salvo in Wright’s assault on people who dispute his claim of being Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. In January, Wright demanded that Bitcoin.org, Bitcoin.com, and Bitcoincore.org remove copies of the Bitcoin white paper from their respective websites.
Wright continues to maintain that Bitcoin white paper is his intellectual property. Meanwhile, he continues to be a proponent of Bitcoin SV (BSV), a factional chain that split off from Bitcoin Cash (BCH) which is itself another forked chain from Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin software download is still available on Bitcoincore.org, even for visitors with U.K. IP addresses as of the time of writing.
Indeed, geofencing the download link on Bitcoin.org is not likely to impact people interested in running Bitcoin Core in the country, given the multitude of workarounds like virtual private networks and other websites that host the software.
Mystery of Who Invented Bitcoin Hangs Over Scientist’s Trial
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts may be disappointed if they’re expecting a three-week trial in Miami federal court to finally establish the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.
But curiosity seekers will nonetheless be drawn to watch Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, the self-described inventor of Bitcoin, defend himself against claims that he swindled the estate of a deceased Florida man of its share of some $65 billion of the peer-to-peer currency and intellectual property related to blockchain technology worth billions of dollars more.
The brother of Dave Kleiman, who died in 2013, alleges that the late computer scientist collaborated with Wright on the early development of Bitcoin and that the estate is entitled to half the value of a cache of as many as 1.1 million Bitcoins, valued at $62,545 apiece as of mid day on Oct. 29, believed to be held by Satoshi. Whether that stash can still be recovered is by no means guaranteed.
Some prominent cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and investors regard Wright as a fake and believe Satoshi’s enduring anonymity is part of the genius of Bitcoin — a competitive advantage for an innovation that has drawn scrutiny and ire from countless governments. Wright has stood by his claim, even suing critics who have called him an impostor.
Yet the Kleiman case isn’t principally about whether Wright is really Satoshi. At issue in the trial, which begins Monday with jury selection, is whether a business partnership existed between Wright and Kleiman before the latter’s death.
Wright is definitely “an important early innovator in cryptocurrency, and is also rich from cryptocurrency,” said Aaron Brown, a crypto investor who also writes for Bloomberg Opinion. “Beyond that, his claims to be the main or only author of the original Bitcoin white paper have little support.”
Despite the skepticism, crypto fans will be following the trial for any clues. Satoshi speculation is a favorite hobby in the crypto community, and last month, even venture capitalist Peter Thiel joined in, speculating that the real Satoshi was on the same beach as him in Anguilla in February 2000. Whoever Satoshi is, he or she probably has access to enough Bitcoin to dramatically sway the market.
The Kleiman estate complaint against Wright was first filed almost three years ago, but the case has faced delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Emails in the court records show the men had a simpatico relationship — in one message, Wright called Kleiman his “best friend” — but Kleiman’s brother, Ira, will try to prove they had a business partnership.
So far, that’s involved a reexamination of such events as a Thanksgiving dinner conversation in 2009. Ira Kleiman has testified that Dave told him over the holiday meal that he was developing something “bigger than Facebook,” before he scrawled out the now famous Bitcoin logo: a B with two lines through it in the style of a money sign.
The testimony of Wright himself could prove pivotal. Earlier in the litigation, the Kleiman estate accused Wright of “a sustained pattern of perjury, forged evidence, misleading filings, and obstruction.” Wright’s lawyers argued he is on the autism spectrum, and U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom declined to impose severe sanctions on Wright.
The case is Kleiman v. Wright, 18-cv-80176, U.S. District Court, District of Southern Florida (Miami).
In Craig Wright Trial, Plaintiffs Lay Out Pattern of Fraud, Deceit And Hubris
The self-proclaimed “Satoshi” will have much to address when he takes the stand on Thursday.
Attorneys for Ira Kleiman and W&K Info Defense Research began to paint an unflattering portrait of Craig Wright, his business practices and interpersonal dealings in a Miami court on Tuesday and Wednesday.
These two days of testimony formed part of the plaintiffs’ suit against Wright, revolving around his business dealings with the Kleiman’s late brother, David Kleiman. The crypto community has been watching this case closely because much of the financials at the heart of the case revolve around bitcoin wallets that have been linked to Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.
Tuesday’s witnesses included former Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, who testified that Wright – the Australian computer scientist best known for his much-debated claim to be Nakamoto – “bamboozled” him.
In a prerecorded video deposition shown in court Tuesday, Andresen testified that he began to doubt Wright’s claim after Wright notoriously failed to deliver cryptographic proof that he had access to Satoshi’s private keys.
“I’m starting to doubt myself, and imagining the clever ways you could have tricked me,” Andresen wrote to Wright on May 3, 2016, in an email presented in court.
“The gobbledygook proof he published was certainly a deception, if not an outright lie,” Andresen told attorneys for Kleiman. “He bamboozled me, there.”
Andresen’s testimony was just a taste of what was to come on days two and three of the Kleiman vs. Wright trial, which is being closely watched because of Wright’s history of claiming to be the inventor of Bitcoin but failing to conclusively prove it.
If the plaintiffs win, Wright could be ordered to give them a portion of intellectual property rights and a share of up to 1.1 million bitcoins, worth $68 billion, that the plaintiffs claim Wright controls. Many in the crypto community, however, have called into question the existence of those coins and, if they do exist, whether Wright in fact controls them – and even if he does, whether the court will be able to force him to abide by the jury’s decision.
‘I Never Got A Cent’
Jamie Wilson, director of the Australian cybersecurity company Cryptoloc, testified via pre-taped video deposition about his former business relationship with Wright.
Wilson told the plaintiffs’ attorneys that he met Wright in 2012 after learning about bitcoin in 2011, and accepted a director role in several of Wright’s companies, including Hotwire and Coin Exchange.
On Oct. 23, 2013, Wilson sent Wright an email resigning from his positions at four of Wright’s companies.
“I wasn’t feeling comfortable,” Wilson told the attorneys when they asked him his reason for resigning. “I didn’t like the way he went about business, his ethics and morals, the way he treated people.”
Wilson said he became suspicious of Wright when he noticed “a lot of bitcoin” and money that originated in the United States on company balance sheets. Concerned that the money was the result of a U.S. government contract he was unaware of, Wilson said, he took his concerns to Wright, who told him the money was from unspecified research and development activities.
When Wilson dug deeper into company records, he told attorneys, he found that the money originated at W&K – the entity plaintiffs say represented a business agreement between Dave Kleiman and Wright to mine bitcoin and develop intellectual property relating to blockchain technology.
Wilson said his suspicion was increased by Wright’s change in behavior and lifestyle after Dave Kleinman’s death in April 2013. Before Kleinman died, Wilson described Wright as driving “a very cheap car,” living in rental properties and wearing hoodies.
After Dave Kleinman’s death, Wilson described Wright’s newfound interest in “watches, flashy suits … a massive change in lifestyle.”
“His arrogance, believing he had to change himself, it just caused a lot of problems,” Wilson testified.
Wilson also said Wright never paid him – or any other employees at Hotwire – during the time period of Wilson’s employment.
“I did not receive one cent,” Wilson said. He added that he was never reimbursed for travel expenses or the down payment on a rental property for an office, and that Wright’s other employees were forced to borrow money from friends and family to stay afloat.
Wilson testified that he wasn’t expecting to receive a salary, however, and found out about his supposed $150,000 per year salary only when the Australian Tax Office (ATO) informed him he needed to pay taxes on it, because Wright had reported the payment.
“I never got a cent, anyway,” Wilson reiterated.
Ira Kleiman Takes The Stand
David Kleiman’s brother Ira, the personal representative of the Kleiman estate and plaintiff in this case, took the stand on Wednesday.
Ira Kleiman told the jury that he first met Wright in February 2014, about a year after his brother’s death, when Dave Kleiman’s friend Patrick Paige forwarded Ira an email from Wright (dated Feb. 12, 2014) discussing their alleged partnership to mine bitcoin.
A day after receiving Paige’s email, Ira reached out to Wright asking for more information about his brother’s purported involvement in the creation of bitcoin:
“Can I ask you if Dave played a part in writing the original PDF under the Asian alias?” Ira Kleiman wrote to Wright, in an apparent reference to Nakamoto’s seminal bitcoin white paper. “I have no interest in public attention from it. I just think that it would be cool if David played a part in creating something so incredible.”
The court then heard about two months of communication between Ira Kleiman and Wright, where the two discussed the role Wright claimed he and Dave played in the bitcoin’s creation.
“I had math skills and some coding that frankly was crud (better than some, but really),” Wright told Ira Kleiman in an email dated March 7, 2014. “Dave could edit his way through hell and back. I am not a team player. I am a terrible boss and a slave driver, but with Dave I was far more … Satoshi was a team.”
But in April 2014, the relationship between Ira Kleinman and Wright appears to have begun to sour.
Ira Kleiman showed the jury an email he received on April 15, 2014, from Andrew Miller, an employee of the Australian Tax Office, about Dave Kleiman’s estate.
Ira Kleinman told the jury that, through Miller’s email, he learned for the first time that Wright had sued W&K in an Australian court and that Wright told Australian authorities he had paid Dave Kleinman’s estate 40 million Australian dollars to “fund the projects” of W&K.
In the email, Miller asked Ira Kleiman a series of questions about W&K, including whether he was aware that Wright had taken legal action against the company in Australia, or that Dave Kleinman’s estate had purportedly received a bond worth 40 million Australian dollars from Wright to fund W&K’s projects.
Miller’s email also said there was a settlement agreement for the transfer of property from W&K to an entity owned by Wright, and that a then-21-year-old Vietnamese woman named Uyen Nguyen had been appointed director of W&K. Miller asked Kleiman if he had instructed Nguyen to accept the settlement agreement.
Kleiman told the jury that, at the time of Miller’s email, he was not aware of W&K and had never met or heard of Nguyen. He also said that the estate had received no money from Wright or any related entities.
On April 23, 2014, Kleiman reached out to Wright by email for answers. ”I feel like there are discrepancies in the contracts between you and W&K, such as Dave’s signature, his resignation, transfer of all accountable value, Uyen’s role of director, BAA projects, etc…I do believe we need to remedy the lopsided contractual exchange,” Kleiman wrote.
“From these documents, it appears clear to see a systematic transfer of assets out of W&K back to you. Up until April 15, I was a complete believer in what you were telling me,” Kleiman wrote in another email to Wright. “But you never mentioned any of the actions you were taking against W&K prior to contacting us.”
Attorneys for the plaintiffs showed the jury a contract allegedly signed by Dave Kleiman on April 2, 2013 – 24 days before his death – that gave Wright control of W&K’s assets.
The signature shown to the jury – crisp and slanted – differed vastly from prior signatures of Dave Kleiman’s, such as the one shown from his will, where he signed with a large, looping “D” followed by a scribble.
“That’s not my brother’s signature,” Ira Kleiman told the jury, referring to the signature on the contract.
Later that month, on April 29, 2014, Miller wrote another email to Kleiman, asking him to confirm the veracity of a contract from March 2014 filed with the ATO by Wright.
“It suggests that you acquired $10,500,000 worth of shares in an Australian company ‘Coin Exch’ Pty Ltd. Were you aware of this, and if so, in what form did you pay this share of capital?”
Kleiman told the jury he never bought shares of Coin Exchange.
Former nChain Lawyer Speaks
Jimmy Nguyen, a former attorney for nChain, the London-based company where Wright is chief scientist, also gave testimony about the nature of Wright’s involvement at nChain and his claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
Nguyen testified that Wright told him that he and Dave Kleiman both posted from Satoshi’s accounts.
He also testified that, in 2014, Wright claimed he had “more money than Rwanda.”
Wright is set to take the stand on Thursday.
Craig Wright’s Latest Funhouse-Mirror Legal Adventure
The whole thing has the bizarre air of a snake eating its own tail, except neither the snake nor the tail actually exist.
Today is the fifth day of the civil trial between Craig Wright, chief scientist of crypto research firm nChain, and the estate of Dave Kleiman, Wright’s collaborator and business partner in the early days of Bitcoin. For newcomers to crypto, the name Craig Wright might not mean much, and fair enough: He is a largely discredited figure at the very margins of the industry, most likely these days to surface as an object of bemusement.
The current trial is a perfect encapsulation of the string of flubbed claims and public misbehavior that have made Wright an outcast. The Kleiman estate alleges that, in order to gain control of Kleiman’s share of their collaborative work, “Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him.
Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them.” According to the suit, Wright “claimed Dave signed all these property rights away in exchange for non-controlling share of a non-operational Australian company … The company went bankrupt after Craig apparently misled the Australian Tax Office (‘ATO’).”
The assets Wright allegedly nabbed include both a variety of intellectual property and a stash of bitcoin now worth close to $65 billion. Since 2016, Wright has used that bitcoin trove as support for his audacious claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.
But in 2018, blockchain analyst Kim Nilsson at WizSec looked at the addresses Wright had publicly claimed and concluded that they aren’t actually his. Instead, Nilsson described Wright as “some guy browsing a ‘blockchain rich list,’ picking out a couple of addresses at random and saying ‘I own those’ for whatever reasons, while offering no evidence except for some clumsy document backdating.”
Some may remember Wright’s efforts to prove control of the accounts during the pretrial phase of the Kleiman suit, revolving around a mysterious bonded courier.
So Dave Kleiman’s estate is suing Craig Wright for money that Wright claimed to control as part of his assertion that he is Satoshi. The Kleiman suit largely treats those claims as valid, for the very good reason that it gives the estate standing to claim a large share of Wright’s claimed billions in bitcoin. But the upshot, for skeptics of Wright, is truly bizarre – a fierce, years-long court battle over money that Wright allegedly stole but may not actually have.
The tactics Wright allegedly used against Kleiman, particularly missing or mismatched signatures and seemingly backdated documents, have also undermined Wright’s prior evidence that he is Satoshi.
Most importantly, Wright has, to date, not shown that he controls the cryptographic PGP key that validated Nakamoto’s communications prior to April 26, 2011, when Nakamoto sent his final known public messages. Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, whose reputation was itself badly damaged after briefly supporting Wright’s claim to be Satoshi, told the court this week that he now thinks Wright’s evidence for the claim was “certainly a deception, if not an outright lie.”
This, then, is a lawsuit claiming that Wright defrauded Kleiman out of a legacy that Wright has himself claimed through allegedly fraudulent means. The whole thing has the bizarre air of a snake eating its own tail, except neither the snake nor the tail actually exists.
In the context of the suit, the Kleiman estate has nothing to lose by parroting Wright’s claims to be a bitcoin mega-billionaire: If the estate wins, Wright will have to pay out billions of dollars, whether he actually has all that bitcoin or not.
A victory in the Kleiman suit wouldn’t in itself prove Wright’s claim to be Satoshi. But, strangely enough, losing would provide Wright another opportunity to show the world the truth: It seems likely that Wright would have to sell some of what his defense team is calling “Satoshi’s coins” to pay the claim.
The show continues on Monday with what is likely to be one for the books: The notoriously aggressive and flinty Wright is expected to take the stand himself.
Day 7 of Kleiman v. Wright: Wright Tells Jury Kleiman Only Mined ‘Testnet’ Bitcoins
The self-styled “Satoshi” also testified that he bought (and then spent) 1.1 million BTC through the notorious “Tulip Trust.”
Craig Wright – best known for his long-standing and widely disputed claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin – told a Miami jury on Tuesday that at least a portion of the 1.1 million bitcoin the plaintiffs’ attorneys are calling “Satoshi’s hoard” were purchased, not mined.
“I purchased them from a Russian exchange,” the Australian computer scientist stated. “They were dodgy, I know, but everyone was dodgy in 2011.”
The Tulip Trust was a mysterious and perhaps, as some sleuths have speculated, non-existent offshore trust account the plaintiffs believe Wright has used to hide bitcoins. Wright told the jury the trust was created in 2011 to shelter his assets from an investigation by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Wright said he signed over the assets in the trust, including over a million bitcoins, to Dave Kleiman, his best friend and alleged business partner who died in 2013, to protect himself from bankruptcy.
The plaintiffs – Dave’s brother Ira Kleiman and W&K Info Defense Research LLC, a company Ira claims Wright and Dave owned jointly to mine and “invent” bitcoin – are seeking what they claim to be Dave’s share of the bitcoins and intellectual property from their joint business venture.
They have accused Wright of stealing from Dave’s estate through a complex web of legal maneuvers, shell companies and forgeries.
Wright, for his part, maintains that he and Dave never mined or “created” bitcoin together, despite a slew of emails, chat messages and legal documents presented by the plaintiffs in which Wright tells numerous people, including Dave’s friends and family and the Australian authorities, that he and Dave had a joint mining operation.
Instead, Wright testified in court that any emails saying he and Dave mined bitcoins together were either fraudulent (Wright has long maintained that he is the victim of numerous hacks) or taken out of context.
The defense has also leaned heavily on its allegation that Wright’s autism explains both his combative demeanor and his contradictory statements. In her deposition testimony read on Monday, Wright’s wife, Ramona Watts, said the couple used to “fight every day” over misunderstandings caused by Wright’s autism.
“He is literal beyond anything,” Watts said.
Wright told the jury on Monday that at least some of the bitcoins the plaintiff considers to be part of the “Satoshi stash” owed to Dave’s estate weren’t actually bitcoins at all but “testnet bitcoins” used to test a “supercomputer” that he and Dave were purportedly developing in 2011 and 2012. A testnet is an experimental environment for software under development; coins on such a network typically cannot be transferred to a live, or mainnet, version of a blockchain and so have little if any value.
Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos, who testified last week as an expert witness for the plaintiffs, told the jury that mining bitcoin could be done with an old-fashioned office computer – which he described as a “beige tower”– until 2013.
Wright also claimed that his emails to Dave’s brother Ira, his father Louis, and his friends and business partners Patrick Paige and Carter Conrad telling them that he and Dave worked together to “create” bitcoin were purposely exaggerated to give his deceased friend a legacy in the minds of his loved ones.
“I exaggerated because Dave had no one remembering him, and he was the most important person in my life for many years,” Wright tearfully told the jury, in one of his several openly emotional moments on the stand.
Wright told the jury that he did mine approximately a million bitcoins on his own, however, as “Satoshi,” (Wright told the jury he mined blocks 1 through 16) and as himself after retiring the Satoshi accounts at the end of 2010.
Wright alleges that he alone mined approximately 1 million bitcoins, that Dave independently mined approximately 1 million testnet bitcoins, and that Wright purchased 1.1 million bitcoins for the supposed Tulip Trust – the similarity in the numbers is, according to Wright, a coincidence, and the plaintiff’s attorneys are “conflating” separate batches of coins.
It is important to note that, thus far, neither side has called in an expert in blockchain forensic analysis to trace the origin and movements of any of the coins in question or to give testimony on the possible ownership of any of the wallets that hold (or held) those bitcoins.
Wright’s testimony will continue on Wednesday before the court breaks until Monday morning.
Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Unmasked At Florida Trial
Lawsuit over a $64 billion cache looks beyond the pseudonym to solve the mystery of who created the cryptocurrency.
A seemingly run-of-the-mill trial is playing out in Florida: The family of a deceased man is suing his former business partner over control of their partnership’s assets.
In this case, the assets in question are a cache of about one million bitcoins, equivalent to around $64 billion today, belonging to bitcoin’s creator, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The family of the dead man says he and his business partner together were Nakamoto, and thus the family is entitled to half of the fortune.
Who Satoshi Nakamoto is has been one of the financial world’s enduring mysteries. Does the name refer to one person? Or several? And why has he or she or they not touched a penny of that fortune?
The answers to those questions are at the center of the Florida dispute and of bitcoin itself. Bitcoin has become a trillion-dollar market, with tens of millions of investors. It has challenged governments trying to regulate it and has been endorsed by some. The technology behind it is seen by some as a way to rewire the global financial system. Yet, who created it and why has remained a mystery.
And that is all before you get to who controls one of the largest private fortunes in the world.
That is what a Florida jury will try to tackle. The family of David Kleiman is suing his former business partner, a 51-year-old Australian programmer living in London named Craig Wright. Mr. Wright has been arguing since 2016 that he created bitcoin, a claim dismissed by most in the bitcoin community. Mr. Kleiman’s family argues that the two worked on and mined bitcoin together, entitling Mr. Kleiman’s family to half a million bitcoins.
“We believe the evidence will show there was a partnership to create and mine over one million bitcoin,” said Vel Freedman, a lawyer for the Kleiman family.
The plaintiffs plan to produce evidence showing that the two were involved in bitcoin since its inception and worked together.
“It is about two friends who had a partnership, and about how one of them tried to take everything for himself after the other died,” said Tibor Nagy, a lawyer who has been observing the trial.
The defense said it has evidence that will show Mr. Wright is the creator of bitcoin and never included Mr. Kleiman. “We believe the court will find there’s nothing to indicate or record that they were in a partnership,” said Andrés Rivero, a lawyer for Mr. Wright.
For bitcoiners, there is only one piece of evidence that could conclusively prove the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto: the private key that controls the account where Nakamoto stored the one million bitcoins. Anyone claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto could show that he or she has them by moving even a fraction of a coin out of it.
The mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto is one of the curiosities of bitcoin. On Oct. 31, 2008, somebody using that name sent a nine-page paper to a group of cryptographers explaining a system of “electronic cash” that allowed people to exchange value without the need for a bank or other party. A few months later, the bitcoin network went live, and Nakamoto collected one million bitcoins in its first year.
It was earlier in 2008 that the family of Mr. Kleiman claims his business partner Mr. Wright asked for Mr. Kleiman’s help in what would become that nine-page paper. They collaborated on the white paper and launched bitcoin together, the suit alleges.
Bitcoin combined encryption, cryptography, distributed computing and game theory. With bitcoin, two people, anywhere in the world with an internet connection, could transact without a middleman in minutes.
For every single one of the more than 650 million bitcoin transactions, all publicly visible on a ledger called the “blockchain,” there are two strings of numbers that control how the digital currency is moved: a public key and a private key. Anybody can send bitcoin to the public key, or the destination address, which is similar to a bank account. Only the person who controls the account will have the private key and essentially own the bitcoin.
In bitcoin’s early days, nobody cared much about Nakamoto’s identity. Bitcoin had no tangible value and only a small group of backers. Nakamoto was active in its development for about two years, writing on message boards and emailing with developers. In December 2010, Nakamoto, who was known to use two email addresses and have one registered website, stopped posting publicly; essentially, Nakamoto disappeared.
The universe of people with the technical knowledge to create bitcoin is limited. Most of the prominent names in cryptography have been tagged as Nakamoto. All have denied it, and no evidence has ever linked anyone conclusively to bitcoin’s creation.
Meanwhile, in 2011, Mr. Kleiman incorporated a company in Florida called W&K Info Defense Research. His family alleges that it was a partnership and that Mr. Wright later tried to claim outright ownership. The defense says there was in fact no partnership.
Mr. Kleiman died on April 26, 2013.
The next year, Newsweek reported that a man with the same last name as Satoshi—Dorian Nakamoto—was bitcoin’s creator. He denied the claim, and on a message board, a one-sentence post from an account known to have been used by the real Nakamoto agreed: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” If that was a genuine message from bitcoin’s creator, it is the last public correspondence from Nakamoto.
In May 2016, Mr. Wright claimed that he was bitcoin’s founder. He met with several early bitcoin pioneers, gave exclusive interviews to three media outlets and filled a website with papers he had written about cryptography and bitcoin.
Three days later, facing withering criticism, he dropped the claim. He pulled everything off the website and replaced it with a four-paragraph apology. “I broke,” he wrote. “I do not have the courage. I cannot.” He has since renewed his insistence that he created bitcoin.
Whether Mr. Wright or Mr. Kleiman possesses or possessed the knowledge to have created the cryptocurrency is contested.
Mr. Wright “has been hacking, bamboozling and fooling people, playing the confidence game,” said Arthur van Pelt, a bitcoin investor who has emerged as one of Mr. Wright’s most vocal critics. “There is no genuine, independent, credible proof whatsoever.”
Mr. Kleiman’s computing expertise was known to be extensive. It is possible that Mr. Kleiman created bitcoin, Emin Gun Sirer, founder of Ava Labs, said, but there isn’t enough information to be sure. “It’s an open question,” he said.
Kleiman v. Wright: A Story of Physical And Financial Tribulation
The defense set out to prove that Dave Kleiman was too incapacitated to be materially involved in Craig Wright’s business ventures.
The federal civil trial of Kleiman v. Wright continued in Miami Thursday, with witnesses for the defense suggesting it was unlikely Dave Kleiman had a business partnership with Craig Wright to invent and mine bitcoin. He had severe health problems, poor coding skills and never mentioned any such project to his close friends. When he’d entered into a different business partnership, it had been formalized, they testified.
Wright claims to have invented bitcoin, although that claim has been met with considerable skepticism and has never been successfully proven. The idea for the cryptocurrency was outlined in an October 2008 white paper posted online by someone or someones using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who stopped posting in 2011.
The federal lawsuit is rooted in the parties’ assumption that Wright is Satoshi – but alleges that he invented and mined bitcoin with the help of Dave Kleiman, who died in 2013. The lawsuit, filed by Kleiman’s brother Ira Kleiman on behalf of Dave’s estate and a company Dave controlled, alleges that the estate is entitled to assets still tied to Satoshi, which include bitcoin that’s now worth about $66 billion and intellectual property.
Dave Kleiman, who’d become a paraplegic after a 1995 motorcycle accident, was in a hospital almost continuously – about 850 days – from Sept. 24, 2010, to March 21, 2013.
Infectious disease expert Dr. D. Stewart MacIntyre, Jr. testified that based on his review of medical records, Kleiman suffered from pressure ulcers (bedsores), brittle bones and infections, including MRSA. He took medicines including antibiotics and Valium. He was paralyzed from the waist down and nurses were required to turn him every two hours.
MacIntyre said Kleiman was frequently interrupted by staff and therapists, suggesting that it would be hard to get work done. An IV could have made it hard to move around. To leave the hospital required permission from a doctor, like a furlough. Kleiman asked to leave one day to oversee installation of a mechanical lift in his bathroom, and never returned. Kleiman was found dead in April 2013.
On cross-examination, Dr. MacIntyre was pressed to concede, ”I was not asked to evaluate his brain” nor his mental capacity.
Plaintiffs’ counsel ran through exhibits, seeking to show that Kleiman’s physical limitations wouldn’t have precluded him from working. One mental state exam showed Kleiman receiving a score of 30/30 and noted “no evidence of difficulty understanding multi-step or complex instructions … or complex or abstract information.”
Hospital staff who treated him documented “patient observed on laptop” and “patient always on his computer.” A psychology note said Kleiman worked in computer forensics and “the patient indicated his ability to continue working has helped him cope with his medical problems.”
But in one email dated April 9, 2008, Dave Kleiman told Craig Wright about his medical problems, adding, “I have not worked in about 10 days.”
Kimon Andreou worked with Dave Kleiman at a West Palm Beach company called S-Doc, also called Securit-e-doc, from 2002 to 2004. Andreou testified that Kleiman became one of his closest friends. They would do things like get dinner or attend gun shows together. Andreou said Kleiman had “minimum to no” coding skills.
Andreou would visit Kleiman after work when he was in the hospital. He had “surgery after surgery after surgery,” Andreou said.
Evidence in the case includes about 200 pages of text messages between the two men, dated from 2009 to April 18, 2013. Some messages from late 2010 into mid 2011 indicate that Kleiman told Andreou he was behind on mortgage and utility payments. He sent Andreou Lotto numbers so that Andreou could buy him some tickets.
Andreou Was Questioned By Defense Attorney Jorge A. Mestre:
“During Dave Kleiman’s lifetime, did he ever tell you that he had formed a business partnership with Dr. Craig Wright to either mine or invent bitcoin?”
“Did he ever tell you he had hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin?”
On cross-examination, Andreou was asked about an email he’d written after Dave’s death, which stated, “If all the documents are authentic, then with the addition of the anecdotal information we have from discussions with Dave, all point to Dave and Craig indeed being behind Bitcoin.”
Andreou said that after claims of Kleiman’s involvement with bitcoin hit the news, “it seemed very plausible and I was convinced at that time they were the co-creators of Bitcoin.” But Andreou insisted his thinking at that time was based on third-party information, and ultimately he did not believe Kleiman did coding or programming for Bitcoin, nor was he the hands-on-the-keyboard person behind Bitcoin.
Plaintiffs’ counsel pointed out that after leaving S-doc, Andreou went to work for the Royal Caribbean cruise line, where his boss was the sister of defense attorney Mestre.
Carter Conrad took the stand next, testifying that he knew of Dave Kleiman through a listserv geared to computer forensics. The two met in person at a Miami conference, and Conrad began helping Kleiman with work – at first, mostly physical tasks like unplugging and moving computers so that Dave could examine them.
When Dave went into the hospital, Conrad began taking on additional work and eventually suggested they formalize their partnership. A third person, Patrick Paige, joined their business, too.
Other Business Documentation
The defense team showed documents – such as a profit and loss statement, an operating agreement, and a registration with the state – illustrating their point that the resulting firm, Computer Forensics LLC, was a legitimate entity, its ownership shared evenly among the three men. Kleiman recruited a longtime friend to be their accountant and emailed him particulars such as projected revenues and how they’d split income.
On cross-examination, plaintiffs’ attorney Velvel (Devin) Freedman asked Conrad if Dave was able to write computer scripts. Conrad recalled him using scripts at a conference and said there was “a great likelihood he built them.”
Conrad said he knew of Kleiman’s financial problems and “struggled” to understand why, if Kleiman had assets, he would not have cashed those out to pay for his debts.
Freedman asked, “If bitcoin belonged to a partnership, then it would make sense?” Kleiman was honest and wouldn’t “put his hand in the cookie jar” to take from the partnership, Freedman suggested. Defense counsel objected, and the judge sustained the objection, cutting off that line of questioning.
The last witness of the day was Kleiman’s accountant friend, David Kuharcik, who testified over Zoom that he’d always prepared Kleiman’s federal tax returns. Defense attorney Amanda Marie McGovern displayed some tax documents, seeking to show that Kleiman typically would pass on all information needed to do complete and accurate returns, but did not pass on anything that reflected a legal partnership involving bitcoin.
Kleiman v. Wright: Defense’s Autism Expert Explains His Diagnosis of Craig Wright
The third week of testimony ended with a lengthy description of how Craig Wright is affected by autism spectrum disorder.
On Friday, the federal civil trial pitting Craig Wright against Ira Kleiman continued, with the day dominated by testimony of an autism expert. Dr. Ami Klin testified that Wright is autistic and has had trouble relating to people throughout his life.
Today marked the end of the third week of the trial. Wright claims to have invented Bitcoin by himself. Kleiman, the personal representative of the estate of his late brother Dave Kleiman, alleges that Dave helped invent the cryptocurrency in what amounted to partnership with Wright and, thus, the estate is entitled to any assets they developed jointly – including bitcoin worth some $66 billion and intellectual property.
Wright maintains Dave Kleiman was his friend but not his business partner, and that their interactions regarding bitcoin were minimal.
The civil suit is founded on the assumption by both parties that Craig Wright is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, a claim that he has pushed for the past 5.5 years but which has been met with great skepticism and never actually been proven. Similarly, the ownership of many of the bitcoin addresses and coins at issue is also somewhat murky.
Bitcoin And Taxes
The morning began with the continuation of testimony by David Kuharcik, an accountant who prepared Dave Kleiman’s federal tax returns as well as returns for a business, Computer Forensics LLC, that Kleiman created with two partners.
Defense attorney Amanda McGovern led the accountant through a review of tax returns, pointing out that there had never been a mention of bitcoin.
On cross-examination, plaintiffs’ counsel Kyle Roche got Kuharcik to acknowledge that “it wasn’t until 2014 that the [Internal Revenue Service] issued formal guidance as to how bitcoin mining and bitcoin gains be reported on tax returns.” Dave Kleiman died in 2013.
‘A Lifelong Pattern Of Becoming Obsessed’
Then the defense called Dr. Ami Klin, director of the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Chief of the Division of Autism and Related Disorders at Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. Klin has also worked with autistic adults.
Klin testified that Wright was a classic “person with autism and high intellect.” Such people may be proficient with languages and obsess over certain topics and facts. They may “speak sometimes with supreme confidence,” Klin said. Thus, their words may come across as disrespectful. They often do not pick up on sarcasm, metaphor or humor, nor do they realize they are being judged in social settings.
Klin said Wright has had “very few friends because not many people share his interests.” This is something very characteristic of people with autism, he said. “Dr. Wright has a lifelong pattern of becoming obsessed about specific areas of interest as a coping style.” Growing up, conversations could be “very one-sided. He ended up alienating his peers and he was mercilessly bullied, ridiculed and ostracized.”
In Wright’s adulthood, his “conversations turn to a lecture about his interests. He’s not thinking about what may be of interest to others.” People on the autism spectrum can be “perfect prey, perfect victims because they cannot judge others’ intentions,” Klin said.
“They focus on irrelevant details and miss the whole,” Klin said of autistic people. He noted they often have rigid ways of being. “Dr. Wright cannot deal with any change,” Klin said. Wright’s mother reported he sometimes had “adult tantrums.”
Klin described one of his clients who was pulled over by police for speeding. The cop gave his speed. The client corrected the cop – he’d been speeding but at a different speed. That illustrated a tendency to be truthful and precise. “They have a tendency to self-incriminate,” Klin said.
A $32,000 Diagnosis Over 4 Days
Plaintiff’s attorney Andrew Scott Brenner pressed about the circumstances under which Klin had evaluated Wright. When Wright’s legal team had first engaged Klin, a document shows, they asked him to determine whether Wright met the criteria for autism spectrum disorder, and how this diagnosis would “impact his presentation in legal proceedings such as depositions and court appearances.”
Once hired, Klin said he googled Wright and watched a few minutes’ video of him at a conference. He thought Wright “looked like Steve Jobs and sounded like a visionary.”
He did not look at Wright’s prior medical records, mental health records, military records or school records.
Klin said he spent hours reviewing Wright’s court depositions. He performed an evaluation and did a direct interview with Wright over video; those actions took 2.5 hours. His colleague conducted interviews with Wright’s wife, sister, uncle and mother; Klin reviewed those and compiled a report.
“In four days and $32,000 later is when you issued your report that Dr. Wright was autistic, right?” Brenner asked. Klin insisted he’d followed protocols.
Klin is expected to continue testifying Monday, and Wright is expected to return to the stand Monday or Tuesday. Attorneys for both sides said they hope to get to closing arguments by Tuesday. There will be no proceedings Wednesday or the rest of next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Jury Deliberations Begin In Kleiman v. Wright Trial
The 10 jurors now must decide whether Craig Wright had a partnership with the late Dave Kleiman and if so what Kleiman’s share of the entity’s assets is worth.
After weeks of contentious testimony, a federal jury was asked Tuesday to decide whether Craig Wright, who claims to have invented bitcoin, was in a business partnership with the late Dave Kleiman.
Kleiman’s estate has alleged that a partnership existed and that after Dave Kleiman’s death, Wright transferred partnership assets to entities he alone controlled and forged documents to make it look as though Dave Kleinman consented to the transfers.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys asked for mind-blowing sums, including $36 billion (the value of bitcoin at issue) for Dave Kleiman’s estate and $126 billion (the value of intellectual property at issue) for a business entity in which they assert Kleiman had a stake. If the jury finds that civil theft occurred, damages could be tripled. The plaintiffs also asked for $17 billion in punitive damages.
After closing arguments, the jury was given the case Tuesday afternoon but didn’t come to a verdict by 5:30 p.m., when they broke for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The proceedings are slated to resume Monday.
The Crux Of The Case
According to the plaintiffs’ attorney Velvel (Devin) Freedman, the award would still leave Wright with $17 billion in bitcoin, plus intellectual property, but the lawyer said “it’ll hurt.”
On Tuesday morning prior to the proceeding, Wright told CoinDesk that if his opponents were awarded a judgment, “They have to get it. There’s nothing in my name.”
The saga goes back to Oct. 31, 2008, when someone posting under the name Satoshi Nakamoto posted a white paper online that described how Bitcoin would work.
The cryptocurrency eventually boomed in popularity, with a single bitcoin reaching an all-time high price of $68,990.90 per coin. Wright in 2016 claimed to have written the Bitcoin white paper, but has never moved bitcoin tied to Satoshi – a move that could quiet the many skeptics and help to prove his claim.
Though very few in the crypto community believe Wright is Satoshi, the lawsuit takes his claim at face value: It assumes he is Satoshi and thus seeks 1.1 million BTC plus intellectual property the plaintiffs say Dave Kleinman and Wright developed together. Because Wright’s claim to being Satoshi wasn’t at issue for the plaintiffs, it wasn’t exhaustively examined.
Similarly, the ownership of the bitcoin in question and the wallet addresses where the coins are held weren’t examined or verified by a forensic blockchain analyst in court.
Instead, the crux of the case revolved around whether the relationship between Dave Kleiman and Wright amounted to a partnership.
Dave Kleiman’s brother Ira Kleiman, on behalf of Dave’s estate, filed the lawsuit in 2018, alleging that Dave Kleiman helped Wright develop the cryptocurrency and thus the estate is owed assets that came from their partnership.
The estate accuses Wright of breach of partnership, conversion (“a distinct act of control wrongfully asserted over another’s personal property in a manner that is inconsistent with the other’s right to that property”) civil theft, fraud, constructive fraud and unjust enrichment.
W&K Info Defense Research, a business that was incorporated by Dave Kleiman in Florida in 2011, is also a plaintiff in the case. The entity is one vehicle through which Wright and Dave Kleiman allegedly mined hundreds of thousands of bitcoins and created valuable blockchain intellectual property (i.e., software, etc.). W&K – which now lists Ira Kleiman as its manager – accuses Wright of conversion, civil theft, fraud, constructive fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment.
‘Two different Craig Wrights’
In closing arguments, Freedman sought to create a clear narrative for the jury after a trial that was filled with dozens of characters, complex technology and conflicting information. He argued there are “two different Craig Wrights”: one who, before litigation began, admitted that Dave Kleiman was his business partner and another who, after the lawsuit was filed, swore Kleiman wasn’t his business partner.
Freedman ran through the testimony and exhibits from the three and a half weeks of trial, attempting to show clearly that Wright had emailed Ira Kleiman to tell him that Dave Kleiman was his partner, but after running into trouble with Australian tax authorities, moved assets into entities that only Wright controlled and forged documents to make it look as though Dave Kleiman had voluntarily given up his claims to the assets.
Freedman asked the jury whether they would let Wright get away with “lies he told to Dave’s grieving family,” forgeries and “the lies he told you when he looked each of you in the eyes for four straight days [claiming to be a] victim and bragging about how smart and how rich he is.”
In closing arguments for the defense, attorney Andres Rivero emphasized that the question is not whether Craig Wright is a liar or cheater but “whether there was a partnership to invent and mine bitcoin.”
He drew a line at Dave Kleiman’s death and suggested that, however mucked up the situation may have become after Kleiman’s death – Rivero admitted Wright had contradicted himself – while Kleiman was alive, “there was no evidence of a written agreement between these men.”
When Kleiman had been in another business, there was a clear paper trail. Rivero showed an email dated Feb. 1, 2011, from Wright to Dave Kleiman where he suggested the possibility of setting up a partnership – thus implying one didn’t exist at that time. Except for an early 2008 email with Wright mentioning to Kleiman that he was working on bitcoin, emails between the two men never used the word bitcoin again, Rivero said.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Rivero argued that Kleiman, who struggled to pay for his home and phone bill, who was confined to a wheelchair and spent most of the last year of his life in a hospital with grave health problems, would have kept his fortune so secret that he didn’t cash it in to pay debts or ever mention it to close friends.
Rivero said it isn’t logical to believe that, given his physical state, Kleiman had the ability to set up a bitcoin operation – which required huge racks of computers – or oversee it from his hospital bed. Rivero implored the jury to set aside any sympathy for Kleiman or distaste for Wright and focus on the hard evidence.
Given a few minutes to speak again before the case went to the jury, Freedman played clips from a Wright deposition in which he said he and Dave Kleiman purposely used internet relay chats and video chats that would not leave evidence. Freedman also said Kleiman wouldn’t have needed massive computer racks – bitcoin could have been mined on a home computer until 2013.
Instructing The Jury
According to instructions the judge read to the jury, a partnership could be a based on a written or oral agreement and must include each of the following elements: a common purpose; a joint proprietary interest in the subject matter or purpose of the partnership; the right to share profits and the duty to share losses; and joint control or right of control over the partnership. Plaintiffs must prove each of those elements by a preponderance of the evidence.
If they find a partnership existed, the jury of three men and seven women will have to determine the value of the assets of the partnership that correspond to David Kleiman’s partnership interest, which would then belong to his estate.
Without an agreement otherwise, Kleiman would be entitled to half. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom told the jury that any damages awarded should be based on the present value of any bitcoin or intellectual property they found was part of the partnership, or both.
Speaking just outside the courtroom doors Tuesday morning, Wright suggested to CoinDesk that even this long trial’s conclusion won’t put an end to the saga.
“I tried to tell people the only thing I own is the [bitcoin mined from the] first 15 blocks,” Wright told CoinDesk Tuesday morning. That would be worth an amount that is “not small” but not “horribly large,” he said, after a rough calculation. (The first 15 bitcoin blocks would have generated 50 BTC each.
Multiply that by the recent all-time high of $68,990.90 per bitcoin and you get $51.7 million.) Wright testified last week that assets are in his wife’s name – she’s the multibillionaire, he had said. She has separate court actions pending against Kleiman and those would need to be resolved before Kleiman could get any of them, he suggested.
Wright said Kleiman would likewise have trouble taking possession of any award granted to W&K. “Trust me, he won’t have the majority of W&K,” he said. One-third of that company is owned by Dave Kleiman, one-third by a company of Wright’s and one-third by Wright’s ex-wife Lynn, he said.
Jury In Craig Wright Lawsuit ‘Cannot All Agree On A Verdict’
The court battle over 1.1 million BTC is at a standstill, as the jury in the case has been deadlocked for days.
The court case between Australian Craig Wright and the estate of his now deceased friend David Kleiman over legal rights to tens of billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin (BTC) mined by Satoshi Nakamoto could end in a mistrial if jurors remain deadlocked.
Wright claims he used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto when he invented Bitcoin. The case being deliberated began in 2018 when the estate of his associate Kleiman sued him on the grounds the pair were partners who’d invented and mined Bitcoin together.
By about 5 pm UTC on Wednesday, the jury was deadlocked, having issued the following statement:
“Unfortunately we cannot come to a conclusion and we cannot all agree on a verdict on any of the questions.”
As of 10 pm UTC, the jury remained deadlocked and is set to return on Thursday, according to court reporter Carolina Bolada from Law360.
Judge Beth Bloom issued an Allen Charge instructing the jury to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict. She said, “I suggest that you now carefully reexamine and reconsider all the evidence in light of the court’s instructions on the law.”
If the jury is still unable to reach a verdict, however, the judge could declare a mistrial.
The stakes in the case are high. Both sides contend that Wright is Satoshi; however, they are at odds over the ownership of 1.1 million BTC mined at the time. As of today, that 1.1 million BTC is worth $62,568,836,000.
In court, David Kleiman’s brother Ira argued on behalf of the estate that Wright broke an oral agreement with David to mine Bitcoin and develop its technology together.
Wright claims that no such partnership existed and that, at most, Kleiman proofread the Bitcoin white paper since he was not a developer and could not have debugged the Bitcoin code.
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