A Miami jury has convicted Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who claimed to have helped design Bitcoin, of most charges in a multibillion-dollar case after a week of deliberation.
The estate of Wright’s now-deceased acquaintance filed the claim over the cryptocurrency’s intellectual property rights. But Wright must still pay $100 million in compensatory damages.
According to Gizmodo, Wright claims to have worked on the Bitcoin development team and to be the one and only “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the author of the mysterious white paper that started Bitcoin. There is ample of proof that these statements are false, and his pronouncements are largely considered as a fraud in the cryptocurrency community. The complaint, however, was launched by the brother of Wright’s dead friend Dave Kleiman, who accepted the allegation as just a given and went on to name Kleiman as a crucial collaborator on the project.
Wright has separately claimed that a February 2020 hack on his home computer resulted in the loss of the private keys to a digital wallet containing approximately 111,000 Bitcoin, and earlier this year he sued developers at four separate cryptocurrency networks in UK court in an attempt to reclaim his lost bounty.
According to the Financial Times, Wright is not asking that the developers return the allegedly stolen coins, but rather replace them with new ones, which does not appear to be consistent with the original spirit of Bitcoin. According to one of the defendants, they do not feel Wright has demonstrated his possession of the Bitcoin in question.
The case seemed to be a sigh of relief for Craig Wright! Andres Rivero, Wright’s lawyer, depicted the verdict as a complete victory for his client.
“The plaintiffs were claiming $600 billion plus punitive,” he said in a phone interview after the verdict. “This is one of the most resounding victories ever in American litigation. We had crushed them. Their result is less than any settlement offer we ever made to them. This is a total loss for the other side.”
Wright told supporters in a video message, “This has been a really positive ending, and I feel entirely vindicated.” There will be more conflicts. We’re going to alter everything: cryptocurrencies to digital cash the way it’s supposed to be.
“We are extremely pleased that our client, W&K Information Defense Research LLC, has received $100,000,000 reflecting that Craig Wright unlawfully seized bitcoin-related assets from W&K,” W&K attorneys said in a statement to CNBC.
The case is Kleiman v. Wright, 18-cv-80176, U.S. District Court, District of Southern Florida (Miami).