Australian cryptographer and self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, Craig Wright, has been ordered to pay a $100,000,000 settlement at the close of a 3-year-long lawsuit between him and the estate of a former business partner.
The computer scientist was sued by the estate of Dave Kleinman, who died in 2013 and had a relationship with Wright in the latter portion of his life.
Kleinman’s estate alleged that the two men co-created Bitcoin in 2009 and that Wright illegally took possession of 1.1 million BTC that they mined together in breach of their partnership.
Following 21 days in court, a Florida jury found Wright to be not liable for six out of seven charges. The one charge Wright was found liable for was conversion, which is considered a form of theft or taking ownership inconsistent with the real owner’s right of possession.
The trial gained massive amounts of attention on the possibility that the identity of Satoshi Nakomoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, would be revealed. However, no definitive evidence was unveiled during the case, and the trial instead focused on whether or not Wright and Kleinman had a business partnership.
Wright and others within the crypto industry have long alleged that he is Satoshi Nakomoto. In order to prove that he is in fact Satoshi, critics have repeatedly requested that Wright show his ability to move coins belonging to Satoshi’s wallet. While some have claimed to have witnessed him do this, it has never been publicly demonstrated. Dave Kleinman’s brother Ira still believes the pair created Bitcoin together.
In a short video posted to Twitter after the ruling, Wright said that he felt vindicated with the jury’s decision and that he planned on changing the crypto industry to be more focused on digital cash, though it is unclear what that entails.
“I feel completely vindicated. Next, there are still more fights. We are going to make everything change from cryptocurrency to digital cash the way it’s meant to be. My original invention is coming back. I’m not going anywhere, I’m here for the long term, and I’m here for the fight. Each victory we get takes us closer to a world where digital cash is used. Not a global casino, but real digital cash, where people in third world countries can make money, hold money, and trade.”
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