(news.com.au)– SYDNEY man Craig Wright, who once claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, is being sued for more than $6 billion of the cryptocurrency by the estate of his dead business partner.THE last time Australian computer scientist Craig Wright was in the headlines, he ended up with egg on his face.
He outed himself as the mysterious and anonymous creator of everyone’s favourite cryptocurrency, bitcoin. The apparent news was actually broken by two major tech publications in late 2015 but a few months later, Mr Wright went public and confirmed to the world that he was the mastermind in a team that developed the original software for the famous digital currency.
However the ensuing torrent of media attention and scrutiny proved the Sydney man’s claims did not stack up. He was apparently not who he claimed to be.
The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto was still at large and Wright retreated back into the shadows.
After that episode, he’s probably happy without the spotlight — but unfortunately it has landed on him again.
The 47-year-old is back in the news because he is being sued for allegedly stealing about $6.3 billion worth of bitcoin from a dead former business partner.
Filed in the Florida District court earlier this month, the lawsuit alleges that Mr Wright participated in a joint bitcoin-mining venture with the now-deceased forensic computer investigator Dave Kleiman.
Mr Kleiman was a noted “computer genius” who died in his home in April 2013 from complications stemming from a bacterial infection that was resistant to antibiotics.
The suit claims throughout the bitcoin-mining operation (which typically involves using powerful computers to solve complicated maths problems to earn bitcoin) the pair mined between 550,000 and 1.1 million bitcoin.
According to the plaintiffs, Mr Wright forged and backdated a number of documents after Mr Kleiman’s death in order to make it appear that the co-founder had signed away his shares.
“As part of this plan, Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him. Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them,” the lawsuit alleges.
Now Mr Kleiman’s brother Ira, who is representing his estate, wants the bitcoins back. And it’s worth a try because that amount of bitcoin would now be worth as much as $US10 billion ($A12.7 billion), Ira Kleiman’s lawyers claim.
Those lawyers work for well-known firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP which has been involved in some seriously high-profile cases including Bush versus Gore, which followed the vote counting controversy of the 2000 US presidential election.
A copy of the suit was published by Coindesk and shows they want at least half of the stash of bitcoins in the pair’s control when Mr Kleiman died and then some, representing assets totalling about $6.3 billion in value.
The plaintiff “demands judgment against defendant for the value of the wrongfully retained bitcoin and IP, together with court costs, interest, and any other relief this court deems just and proper,” the complaint states.
Mr Wright, who now lives in London, could not be reached and has yet to publicly respond to the allegations outside of a one word tweet in which he said the lawsuit was about “greed”.
— briangamblin (@briangamblin) February 26, 2018