An Australian computer scientist claiming to have invented Bitcoin has been ordered by a US jury to pay $ 100 million in damages over claims that he defrauded a deceased friend over intellectual property for cryptocurrency.
It took a jury in Miami federal court about a week to reach its verdict on Monday after about three weeks of trial. The jury dismissed most of the claims against Craig Wright, and the outcome likely won’t resolve the dispute over whether Wright is the mythical creator of Satoshi Nakamoto’s peer-to-peer currency.
The brother of Dave Kleiman, a computer security expert who died in 2013, claimed the deceased Florida man worked with Wright to create and mine bitcoin in its early years. As a result, the plaintiffs argued that the estate was entitled to half of a cache of 1.1 million bitcoins, worth about $ 70 billion, believed to be owned by Satoshi.
Wright is considered a fake by some cryptocurrency investors, and the multi-year Florida lawsuit has done little to reassure skeptics. Wright has stated numerous times in court that he invented bitcoin, as he previously stated in news interviews. If the jury’s verdict was against Wright, it would make him earn the Satoshi fortune. For some observers, this would be a real test.
Wright said after the verdict: “I have never felt such relief in my life.” He said he would not appeal.
He also said that he feels justified and that the verdict proves that he is the creator of Bitcoin.
“The jury obviously thought it was, because otherwise there would be no award,” he said. “And I.”
Clayman estate attorney Devin Friedman called the verdict “a historic precedent in the innovative and transformative cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.”
“Craig Wright told the Kleiman family many years ago that he and Dave Kleiman had developed revolutionary intellectual property based on bitcoin,” the statement said. Despite these confessions, Wright refused to give the Claymans their fair share of what Dave helped create.
A jury found Wright responsible for the conversion – misappropriation of property – and awarded damages to W&K Info Defense Research, an organization through which Kleiman and Wright were alleged to have worked together.
Concluding his arguments before the jury, Friedman said that Wright conspired and condoned “stealing from his dead best friend through forgery and lies.”
The estate claimed that in addition to the bitcoin mining that the friends were doing together, Kleiman helped Wright create the $ 252 billion intellectual property underlying early blockchain technology.
Wright argued that the claims of Dave Kleiman’s brother, Ira, were fabricated. He testified that his friend did not help him launch the cryptocurrency and claimed that there was no documentary evidence that they had a partnership.
“Truth has an attraction,” Wright’s lawyer Andres Rivero told the jury, noting that there was not a single message from his client that mentioned a partnership with bitcoin while Kleiman was still alive.
Case – Clayman v. Wright, 18-cv-80176, United States District Court, District of South Florida.