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The Man Who Claimed to Invent Bitcoin Is Being Sued for $10 Billion

Posted on Monday, 26th February 2018 @ 10:33 PM by Text Size A | A | A

Bitcoin’s origins are shrouded in mystery, but two people have lurked at the edges of its mythology for years: A paralyzed coder named Dave Kleiman who died in 2013 as a result of complications from an illness, and Australian Craig Wright, who claimed to be Bitcoin’s anonymous creator in 2016.

Now Dave Kleiman’s estate is suing Wright for up to 1,100,111 bitcoins worth over $10 billion USD and intellectual property related to Bitcoin software, according to a lawsuit filed in a Florida court February 14. The suit, filed on behalf of Ira Kleiman, Dave’s brother and the representative of his estate, alleges that Wright and Kleiman mined bitcoins together in the currency’s early days, and that since Kleiman’s death Wright has “perpetrated a scheme” to “seize Dave’s bitcoins.”

The lawsuit (embedded below) admits that the amount of bitcoins at issue must be determined at trial—basically, Kleiman isn’t sure how much is really at stake. But Kleiman’s lawyers have Wright’s own statements to go from, from which they extrapolated that, in their view, Wright owes Ira Kleiman up to one million bitcoins, which is the full amount of bitcoins allegedly mined by Wright and Kleiman. Ultimately, the lawsuit is seeking somewhere between 300,000 and 1.1 million bitcoins.

Notably, the lawsuit makes no claim on whether Kleiman or Wright, or both of them (or neither of them) actually created Bitcoin. It does, however, allege that the pair were in communication as early as March 2008—the Bitcoin white paper was published in October 2008—and that Dave told his brother Ira in 2009 that “he was creating ‘digital money’ with a wealthy foreign man, i.e. Craig.” The suit alleges that Kleiman and Wright “and two others” conducted a Bitcoin transaction on January 12, 2009, nine days after the very first block of Bitcoin transaction data was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym used by Bitcoin’s inventor.

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