Craight Wright, an Australian computer scientist who has claimed that he invented Bitcoin since at least 2016, was ordered by a U.S. jury to pay $100 million in damages to the estate of David Kleiman.
The damages were made over claims that Wright overextended his rights and misrepresented ownership of intellectual property for Bitcoin and its early development, effectively cheating Kleiman, who died in April 23rd, 2013 at the age of 46.
The verdict follows three weeks of trial, with the resulting judgment remaining unclear whether Wright actually is the pseudonymous creator of the alpha cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto. The award of $100 million in damages was far shorter than what Kleiman's estate has filed as claims, with over $25 billion (1.1m BTC) worth of Bitcoin sought at the trial.
Notably, most of the claims against Wright were rejected, leading to Wright's defense claiming that the verdict was in favor of their stance.
"This was a tremendous victory for our side," statesAndres Rivero of Rivero Mestre LLP, Wright's lead lawyer.
If Wright follows through with his stance and claim that he is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, he would be legally bound to pay the damages in full, even if the damages awarded were only a fraction of the actual value. The case, presided in a federal court in Miami, took a full week for deliberation, with jurors mincing on the intricacies of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin's algorithmic consensus mechanism.
"Wright refused to give the Kleimans their fair share of what [David Kleiman] helped create and instead took those assets for himself,”said Vel Freedman and Kyle Roche of Roche Freedman LLP, and Andrew Brenner, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, in a joint statement.
Wright's claim to being Satoshi Nakamoto has been largely considered as false, mostly because the 1.1m BTC in question have never been moved, according to public blockchain records. Wright previously claimed that he lost the encrypted keys to access this Bitcoin stash, when his computer network was hacked sometime in February 2020.
Wright, who now resides in Britain, previously took a separate claim against developers of four other networks forked from Bitcoin: Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Bitcoin Cash ABC (ABC), to a London high court. Wright says that, if he wins the trial to prove his identity, he would donate most of the Bitcoin stash.
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