Court Fight Over 1.1 Million Bitcoin Hangs in Balance
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Court Fight Over 1.1 Million Bitcoin Hangs in Balance

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10 months ago

The high-stakes lawsuit against Wright was brought by Ira Kleiman, the brother of Dave Kleiman, a computer forensics expert who died in 2013 — but jurors are struggling to reach a verdict.

Court Fight Over 1.1 Million Bitcoin Hangs in Balance

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A court battle over who owns 1.1 million BTC hangs in the balance — with jurors unable to agree on a verdict.

In essence, the legal showdown centers on who created the world's biggest cryptocurrency.

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has long claimed that he is Bitcoin's pseudonymous investor Satoshi Nakamoto, but critics have argued that his claims are unsubstantiated.

The high-stakes lawsuit against Wright has been brought by Ira Kleiman, the brother of Dave Kleiman, a computer forensics expert who died in 2013.

Kleiman alleges that his late brother played an instrumental role in BTC's launch, meaning he should be entitled to 50% of the Bitcoin that was mined by Satoshi.

Wright has refuted these claims, and says Kleiman's role in the cryptocurrency's creation was limited to proofreading the whitepaper.

Given how this 1.1 million BTC currently has a cash value of $62.3 billion, there's a lot riding on the verdict.

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Why the Confusion?

According to Carolina Bolado, who is covering the case for Law360 in Florida, the jury's struggles mean it "isn't looking good for a verdict."

She reported that the defense, Wright's legal team, has been pushing for a mistrial to be declared — but the judge concluded that such a move was inappropriate at this juncture.

An "Allen charge" has now been issued — meaning that the jury has been instructed to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict.

All of this means that the legal proceedings will rumble on for another day at least.

With such astronomical sums of money at stake, the jury had earlier suggested that they were having difficulty determining damages.

Wright had initially claimed to be Bitcoin's creator back in 2016 — following years of speculation as to who Satoshi Nakamoto is.

While some were satisfied by the cryptographic proof that was issued at the time, others claimed that it didn't confirm beyond reasonable doubt that he invented the world's first cryptocurrency. 

The entrepreneur has taken legal action against a number of those who have questioned his claims.

Earlier this year, Bitcoin.org — which was originally registered by Satoshi Nakamoto and hosted the cryptocurrency's whitepaper — was taken to the court in the U.K. by Wright.

His lawyers had accused the website of copyright infringement by continuing to host the whitepaper, and Wright won the case because "Cøbra" — the pseudonymous person who now owns Bitcoin.org — opted not to mount a defense to protect their anonymity.

As well as taking down the whitepaper, Bitcoin.org was told to pay $48,000 to cover Wright’s legal costs and display a notice concerning the judge’s order for six months.
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