Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who claims to be the creator of bitcoin, won a major US court case over the estate of former business partner David Kleiman on Tuesday.
The assets being contested were around one million bitcoin (worth about $54 billion), belonging to the currency’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright has previously claimed he used Nakamoto as a pseudonym.
A federal jury in West Palm Beach sided with Wright and declined to award any of the assets to Kleiman’s estate. The family of the deceased Kleiman argued he was the co-creator of bitcoin, alongside Wright, entitling him to half of Satoshi’s assumed fortune. They also claimed rights to some of the intellectual property behind early blockchain technology.
While concluding that Wright was not liable for fraud, the jury did award $100 million in intellectual property rights to W&K Information Defense Research, a joint venture between the two men. That money will go to W&K directly, rather than to the Kleiman estate.
“I have never been so relieved in my life,” Wright said in a video message after the trial. “This has been a remarkably good outcome and I feel completely vindicated.”
He also said that the verdict proves he’s the creator of bitcoin. “The jury has obviously found that I am because there would have been no award otherwise,” he said. “And I am.”
The 51-year-old claimed in 2016 that he created bitcoin under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Those claims, however, have been strongly criticized and dismissed by most of the bitcoin community.
Some cryptocurrency experts remain skeptical about whether Wright or Kleiman actually had the knowledge needed to create the world’s most prominent crypto token.
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