Craig Wright Scores an Unlikely Win Over $50 Billion Bitcoin Stash

Craig Wright has earned a litigious and brash reputation in the crypto industry. The self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto has made his share of enemies, many criticizing his behavior and love for controversy.

Craig Wright Scores an Unlikely Win Over $50 Billion Bitcoin Stash

But Wright may have just scored the legal win of the century as a long-standing lawsuit against him finally draws to a close.

Finally Off the Hook

Earlier this month, a Florida jury reached a verdict in the years-old case between Wright and the family of former business partner David Kleiman. The jury held that Wright did not owe Kleiman's family half of 1.1 million BTC - worth about $49 billion according to current average prices.

The legal case is almost as old as Bitcoin itself. Wright and Kleiman worked together years back, the two of them helping to create Bitcoin itself. Kleiman died in April 2013 from injuries related to a motorcycle accident.

While they worked together on the Bitcoin whitepaper, Wright and Kleiman mined 1.1 million BTC tokens. Following Kleiman's death, his family - led by his older brother, Ira - sued Wright for half the stash.

The family claimed Kleiman contributed half to the mining and that Wright had promised to help convert Kleiman's share into cash before Wright reneged on his word.

The Bitcoins themselves have been placed in a trust - the Tulip Trust. Wright has claimed difficulty gaining access to the trust. So far, Wright has been held on multiple counts, including plagiarism, perjury, and presenting false evidence. Regardless, he emerged victorious.

Though he retains the billions of dollars in Bitcoin, Wright must pay a joint venture $100 million in intellectual property rights - significantly less than the Kleiman estate expected to receive.

The Kleiman estate has yet to announce whether they will appeal the decision, and Wright himself has yet to comment on the decision.

Wright Can't Turn New Leaf

Wright is now free to pursue other ventures. The computer scientist calls himself Satoshi Nakamoto - the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. He takes those who question his claims to court, though Wright loses most of those cases.

Wright could be getting into development work for Bitcoin SV - the cryptocurrency he has fronted as the true iteration of Bitcoin's intent. Bitcoin SV enjoyed some fanfare at launch but hasn't stirred much interest since.

Wright's reputation in the industry hasn't done Bitcoin SV any favors. In 2019, controversy erupted after Wright put a $5,000 bounty on Hodlnaut - a social media crypto commentator who criticized Wright's claims of being Satoshi, calling him a fraud. Wright also issued legal notices for some of his critics - including popular crypto podcast host Peter McCormack.

Binance chief executive Changpeng Zhao tweeted that the exchange could delist BSV if Wright didn't amend his behavior.

Days after Zhao's tweet, Binance announced it had delisted BSV. The exchange said a thorough review of the asset and due diligence resulted in the delisting. Many argued the delisting was simply retaliation for Wright's actions.

Wright took several Bitcoin development organizations - including Bitcoin.org - to court this year, claiming they had published the Bitcoin whitepaper without his consent.

At the time, Wright argued that the organizations had breached his patent rights. In 2019, he filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO) for ownership of the Bitcoin whitepaper, claiming to be the original creator. In its rebuttal statement, the Trademark Office said it didn't recognize anyone as Bitcoin's creator.


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