Jury Orders “Bitcoin Creator” Craig Wright to Pay $100 million Damages
After a protracted legal dispute, Kleiman v Wright has finally ended with the jury awarding punitive damages worth $100 million against the defendant for unauthorized use of joint venture funds as he wrongfully withdrew from the W&K Info Defense Research LLC.
The jury also decided that Dave Kleiman wasn’t involved in creating Bitcoin under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Hence, his estate is not entitled to any part of the billion dollars worth of Satoshi’s Bitcoin.
David Kleiman vs Craig Wright
This legal tussle has been ongoing since 2018 when the estate of Kleiman claimed that Wright had defrauded his business partner David Kleiman by taking control of Kleiman’s share of Bitcoin and intellectual property developed during the partnership.
The estate alleged that one of such ventures was the creation of Bitcoin and relied on Wright’s claims that he is the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto.
The available evidence, which includes forged documents revealed through this trial, has shown that these claims are doubtful. Moreover, Wright has already been discredited by many experts in the crypto community.
But the jury’s decision implies that the court considered Wright to be the sole inventor of the Satoshi Nakamoto project. However, the court merely assumed that Wright is indeed Satoshi and focused on whether both Wright and Kleiman were partners in the creation of Bitcoin. It didn’t question whether Wright is Satoshi.
The plaintiff’s case was instituted by Dave Kleiman’s brother, Ira Kleiman, who claimed his brother was entitled to 1.1 million Bitcoin of Satoshi fortune and intellectual property. But Wright argued that even though Kleiman was a close friend and collaborator, his involvement in creating Bitcoin wasn’t enough to constitute a partnership.
The Jury’s Decision
It took some days before the Miami jury reached its decision after the closing arguments on November 24. But they finally agreed with Wright’s position after the judge issued an Allen Charge, which instructs a deadlocked jury to reach a verdict. But it sided with the plaintiff on the count of conversion and ordered payment of $100 million damages.
With the decision in the case, the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains controversial, and Wright can continue claiming he is Satoshi. Wright described the verdict as a win on his Slack Channel because the $100 million damages are far below the $3.2 billion previous settlement offer.
However, Kleiman estate isn’t done with the legal battle as it won’t be able to access the $100 million which will go into W&K until he proves that he has an interest in the company.