Craig Wright, who gained massive media attention and skepticism from the community for claiming to be Bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, is being sued in excess of $10 billion by the estate of deceased business partner Dave Kleiman, a computer forensics expert whom Wright claims to be a co-creator of Bitcoin.
Dave’s brother Ira Kleiman, executor of the estate, is pushing the lawsuit forward and is being represented by reputable law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.
The suit provides evidence that Wright backdated documents and forged signatures in order to obtain a Bitcoin fortune tied to a Bitcoin-mining and research business, W & K Info Defense Research LLC, of which Wright and Kleiman were partners.
The suit provides evidence that Wright attempted to forge Kleiman’s signature by using the Otto font.
While there is a trail of traditional paperwork involved, fake signatures notwithstanding, Wright has also provided multiple Bitcoin addresses in order to prove that the value is indeed out there. However, according to this analysis report by an independent Bitcoin security specialist, the list of addresses that Wright has provided throughout this affair have nothing in common except that they had held at some point in time large amounts of BTC.
The curious case here may not be the massive suit and the Bitcoin in question but rather the identity of supposedly key players in Bitcoin’s genesis.
This is potentially a “put up or shut up” moment for Wright, who has set up a house of cards around himself by his claims to the Satoshi identity and his interactions with the Kleiman estate. While there is a trail of material (to put it neutrally) involving grandiose claims, and strange correspondence that would on the surface link Wright to the Satoshi identity, there are ways for Wright to provide incontrovertible proof that would settle the matter quite clearly. Wright has refused to provide the coup de gras evidence.
There is also the question regarding Dave Kleiman’s role in Bitcoin’s inception. According to the suit, “it is unclear whether Craig, Dave and/or both created Bitcoin.” The filing later confirms, stating, “It is undeniable, however, that Craig and Dave were involved in Bitcoin from its inception and that they both accumulated a vast wealth of bitcoins from 2009 through 2013.” Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding Kleiman are obscure as he became more and more of a recluse as his health worsened, leading to his passing in April 2013.
While Satoshi’s identity is actually a secondary element in this particular case, Wright may find himself forced to prove it during the proceedings.
Will Wright provide the proof? In a British GQ interview, he claimed to have all of the relevant keys and “the f***ing genesis bloody block,” so this will either be the most spectacularly strange and awkward revelation of Bitcoin’s creator or an elaborate hoax shined in the light.
Justice Gavel image via MorgueFile