Both Sides Claim Victory in Verdict over 1.1M BTC
Bitcoin

Both Sides Claim Victory in Verdict over 1.1M BTC

9 months ago

The case centered on Craig Wright, an Australian entrepreneur who has long claimed that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin.

Both Sides Claim Victory in Verdict over 1.1M BTC

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A verdict has been reached in a bitter court battle over 1.1 million Bitcoin — with both sides claiming victory.

The case centered on Craig Wright, an Australian entrepreneur who has long claimed that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin. A number of critics have questioned whether this is true.

He was taken to court by Ira Kleiman, who alleged his late brother Dave had played an instrumental role in the cryptocurrency's creation. Because of this, they argued the computer scientist's estate was entitled to 50% of the BTC that Satoshi mined… a stash currently worth $28.1 billion.

In their closing arguments, Kleiman's lawyers argued that Wright plotted to "steal from his dead best friend with forgery and lies." The defense had disputed this, claiming that his friend's contribution was limited to proofreading the whitepaper for Bitcoin.

The jury in Miami certainly had their work cut out as they tried to navigate complex terminology and unfamiliar technology. Last week, they were unable to reach a verdict — with the judge instructing them to continue deliberating until they were in agreement.

Ultimately, the jury sided with Wright, meaning that Kleiman's estate won't be entitled to any Bitcoin. However, the entrepreneur was ordered to pay $100 million in compensatory damages to W&K Info Defense Research LLC — a company that was jointly owned by Wright and Kleiman. 

For avid crypto enthusiasts, the ruling leaves more questions than answers. If the jury had sided with Kleiman, Wright would have been compelled to produce the Bitcoin that Satoshi had mined — and in doing so, definitively prove he was the mastermind behind the world's biggest cryptocurrency. 

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Everyone's Happy? 

Speaking outside court, Craig Wright described the ruling as a "remarkably good outcome" — adding that he feels completely vindicated. However, he warns that more fights lie ahead as part of his quest to ensure cryptocurrencies and digital cash are what they are "meant to be," adding:

"My original invention is coming back. I'm not going anywhere. I'm here for the long-term, and I'm here for the fight. Each victory we get takes us closer to a world where digital cash is used. Not a global casino, but real digital cash, where people in third-world countries make money, hold money and trade."

Wright's supporters went on to claim that the ruling means that the jury has recognized him as Satoshi Nakamoto — but as Law360 reporter Carolina Bolado noted: 

"The trial has nothing to do with whether Craig Wright is Satoshi or not. The juries did not have to decide that."

Despite the fact that Kleiman's estate was seeking well above $100 billion — covering the value of the disputed Bitcoin, intellectual property and punitive damages — the plaintiff's legal team said they were "immensely gratified" after winning $100 million. In a statement, they said: 

"Many years ago, Craig Wright told the Kleiman family that he and Dave Kleiman developed revolutionary Bitcoin based intellectual property. Despite those admissions, Wright refused to give the Kleimans their fair share of what Dave helped create and instead took those assets for himself. This verdict sets a historical precedent in the innovative and transformative industry of cryptocurrency and blockchain."

They added that the ruling has "protected Dave Kleiman's legacy and ensured his family receives the benefits of his labor." 

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