The identity of the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto”, the unidentified inventor of bitcoin, could soon be revealed by a Florida court over an ongoing case worth more than $64 billion (£47.5 billion) in the cryptocurrency.
The family of dead computer scientist David Kleiman has filed a lawsuit alleging that he created cryptocurrency with Australian programmer Craig Wright using Nakamoto as a pseudonym.
The Kleiman family is suing a 51-year-old programmer for control of Kleiman’s alleged stake in the entire asset, a cache of about 1 million bitcoins, according to reports.
Kleiman’s heirs claim that he and Mr. Wright were together Nakamoto, giving the family the right to half of the fortune. Nakamoto is now number 15 among the richest person in the world. Their net worth is estimated at up to $73 billion (£54.2 billion), with holdings of cryptocurrency in the range of 750 thousand and 1.1 million bitcoins.
“We believe the evidence will show that there is a partnership to create and mine more than 1 million bitcoins,” said Phil Friedman, a lawyer for the Kleiman family. The Wall Street Journal.
The family accused Mr. Wright of recruiting Mr. Kleiman to help write a white paper highlighting their vision for digital currency in 2008 and launching a company.
According to the lawsuit, the family alleged that prior to his death, Kleiman set up a company in Florida called W&K Info Defense Research in 2010, which is allegedly a partnership between the two men.
“The court will find that there is no indication or record that they were in a partnership,” Andres Rivero, a lawyer for Mr. Wright, said.
In 2015, Mr. Wright publicly stated that he was the sole creator of Bitcoin, a claim that was quickly dismissed by the crypto community.
Three days later, he removed all papers he had written on crypto and bitcoin from his website, withdrew the claim and posted an apology.
“When the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish proof of access to the oldest keys, I broke. I don’t have the guts. I can’t,” he wrote.
Wright also faced a backlash earlier this year in May when he filed a lawsuit to secure $7.25 billion (£5.4 billion) of the cryptocurrency he allegedly owns. He claimed that he lost the encrypted keys when his home computer network was hacked in February 2020 and demanded 16 cryptocurrency developers to allow him to recover about 111,000 bitcoins.
In January 2009, months after Nakamoto released their white paper, bitcoin was launched. Soon, they collaborated with other developers for about two years before disappearing completely in 2010.
Although the cryptocurrency had very few recipients in the beginning, it has now taken the world by storm. The price of Bitcoin reached a new all-time high earlier this month above $68,000 (£50,558), after a more than 300 per cent increase over the past year.
In September of this year, El Salvador became the first country to use bitcoin as a legal currency.