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Friday, January 28, 2022

David Kleiman vs Craig Wright trial: The curious case of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Wright's lawyers have said repeatedly that David Kleiman and Wright were friends and collaborated on work together, but their partnership had nothing to do with Bitcoin's creation or early operation.

Written by Mehab Qureshi | Pune |
Updated: December 8, 2021 3:59:05 pm
A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken October 19, 2021. (REUTERS)

For many in the tech world, the identity of Bitcoin’s elusive creator has been a long-running mystery. And the speculation might not be over. Craig Wright, a computer scientist who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, prevailed in a civil trial verdict on Monday against the family of David Kleiman.

Kleiman’s family accused Wright of defrauding (Late) David Kleiman of 1.1 million mined Bitcoins and intellectual property rights, adding that Kleiman and Wright were friends and collaborated on Bitcoin’s creation.

A Florida jury on Monday found that Wright did not owe any Bitcoins to the family of Kleiman, AFP reported. However, Wright was ordered to pay $100 million in compensatory damages over a breach in intellectual property rights related to W&K Info Defense Research LLC, a joint venture between Klein and Wright.

“This was a tremendous victory for our side,” said Andres Rivero of Rivero Mestre LLP, the lead lawyer representing Wright, as quoted by CNN.

Wright told the court that while he and Kleiman collaborated on work together, but their partnership had nothing to do with Bitcoin’s creation. It should be noted that Wright claims to be the sole founder of Bitcoin.

Who was David Kleiman?

According to Ira Kleiman, brother of David Klieman—he was Wright’s partner in writing the Bitcoin white paper under the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym and business partner in mining 1.1 million Bitcoins now worth about $65 billion.

Kleiman worked at a number of high-tech companies including S-doc where he served as a Chief Information Security Officer. He was also a contributor to cryptography and security mailing lists, where he actively participated in discussions including technical aspects of cryptosystems and the politics of cryptography.

He died at the age of 46 in 2013 after a 1995 motorcycle accident, and was in a hospital almost 850 days from September 24, 2010, to March 21, 2013.

According to Coindesk, Kleiman was in extreme physical pain and in a mountain of debt. The alleged Bitcoin co-founder had also taken out a second mortgage on his house and could not even afford to pay his cell phone bill.

“Dave was in a bad financial situation, his health was not good. I struggle with the idea that if he had any kind of assets that he would not use them,” Conrad a testify told the court, as quoted by Coindesk.

Following a three-week trial, the Florida court on Monday cleared any claims stating that Kleiman had any associations with Bitcoin’s creation or early operation.

Mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto

In October 2008, a person or group of people going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper laying out a framework for a digital currency that would not be tied to any central authority.

Nakamoto promoted mining for the currency, which involves solving computers solving mathematical equations. The name Nakamoto, roughly translated from Japanese to mean at the centre of, was never considered to be the real name of Bitcoin’s creator.

Back in 2016, Wright, announced that he founded the digital currency. He even claimed he has Nakamoto’s secret Bitcoin keys. It should be noted that Wright has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of information technology and security. He has been a lecturer and researcher in computer science at Charles Sturt University, authored many articles, academic papers, and books, and spoke publicly at conferences on IT, security, Bitcoin, and other topics relating to digital currency.

Further, in April 2019, Wright registered US copyright in the Bitcoin white paper and the code for Bitcoin. A spokesman for Wright told the Financial Times that this was “the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.”

At the same time, the United States Copyright Office issued a press release clarifying that this was not the case, and that “the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.

While it is clear that Kleiman is not the co-founder of Bitcoin, now the cryptocurrency community is looking to see if Wright can prove his ownership of the Bitcoin. Doing so would lend credence to Wright’s claim, that he is Nakamoto.

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