An Australian computer scientist claiming to be bitcoin’s creator has won a dispute over $50 billion in bitcoin. On Dec. 6, Craig Wright was victorious in a civil trial. In the Florida lawsuit, Wright was accused of interfering with the now-deceased David Kleiman’s bitcoin assets and intellectual property, Bitcoin.com reported.
The family of Kleiman, Wright’s former business partner, alleged it was owed half of a bitcoin fortune worth more than $50 billion.
Under the verdict, Wright will keep all of the 1.1 million bitcoins that were in dispute. The Kleiman family had claimed Wright and Kleiman created bitcoin together, CNet reported. Wright and Kleiman were friends and collaborators. Kleiman died in 2013.
Wright does have to pay $100 million in damages for the unpaid use of the intellectual property to W&K Information Defense Research, a joint venture founded by the two men.
The 1.1 million bitcoins Wright secured with the verdict are among the first bitcoins ever mined, and experts say it could be worth about $54 billion, but Wright claimed he is unable to access them, CNet reported.
Wright also claimed to be the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for the mysterious creator of bitcoin.
There has long been an effort to find out the identity of Nakamoto. Both Newsweek and The New Yorker tried, and Wired was “forced to back off its 2015 assertion that Wright probably is Nakamoto after scrutiny revealed problems with the proof. Gizmodo, too, tentatively fingered Wright as the cryptocurrency’s creator in 2015,” CNet reported.
Wright has claimed to be Nakamoto for years. However, he has failed to provide proof. Several crypto supporters have called him a fraud, and he’s become a very controversial character throughout crypto-related social media, Bitcoin.com reported.
Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin has called Wright a scammer and does not believe Wright is the anonymous founder of Bitcoin. “I view Craig Wright as being kind of like a Donald Trump figure and that like, he’s not very intellectual. I think he gets a big audience because he says things that like to play to the resentments that people have,” Buterin said.
Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain home to digital money, global payments, and applications.
Buterin claimed Wright stated several technically wrong things, Investing.com reported.
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Attorneys for W&K and Kleiman’s estate told CNet that the parties are “immensely gratified” over the $100 million intellectual property rights judgment, despite Wright’s refusal to give the Kleimans “their fair share of what Dave helped create.”