Guy Who Says He Invented Bitcoin Sued for Billions

Craig Wright accused of stealing up to $10B from deceased partner's estate
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2018 1:39 PM CST
He Claims He Invented Bitcoin. Suit Claims He Also Stole It
This framegrab made available by the BBC shows Craig Wright speaking in London.   (BBC News via AP)

Whether or not Craig Wright invented bitcoin, his early involvement in the cryptocurrency is clear. According to the family of Wright's former business partner, Dave Kleiman, the pair founded a bitcoin mining and research firm that controlled between 550,000 and 1.1 million bitcoins by the time of Kleiman's death in 2013, reports the Verge. But that's when the family alleges Wright turned from pioneer to thief. In a lawsuit filed in Florida, the family claims Kleiman's estate owned between 50% and 100% of Florida-based W&K Info Defense Research when Wright forged Kleiman's signature on backdated contracts "that purported to transfer Dave's assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him," per Bloomberg.

The lawsuit points to three contracts in particular, alleging Wright, an Australian citizen, improperly used a computer-generated signature to lay claim to bitcoins held in trusts in the UK, Singapore, and the Seychelles, per CNBC. As part of the lawsuit, Kleiman's family included email communications between Wright and Kleiman's brother, Ira, appearing to show Wright admitting Kleiman's rights to at least 300,000 bitcoins, reports Bloomberg. Arguing the value of Kleiman's bitcoins and the blockchain technologies he developed during his lifetime could be over $10 billion, his family demands its due. Wright—the chief scientist for blockchain firm nChain, who lives in London—has yet to respond. (What stands between a man and a bitcoin fortune: garbage.)

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