The man who had claimed to be the founder of bitcoin is being sued for allegedly stealing $5 billion of bitcoin from his former business partner. Craig Wright, who had said he was Satoshi Nakamoto, faces the suit in a Florida court, The Verge reported.
The suit claims that Wright was in the business of mining bitcoin with Dave Kleiman, who is now deceased. After Kleiman’s death, Wright allegedly backdated and forged documents to make it look like Kleiman had given up his shares. The venture had, in the end, mined between 550,000 and 1,100,000 bitcoins.
Now Kleiman’s estate, which is represented by his brother Ira, wants the bitcoin to be returned. The cache could now be worth more than $10 billion.
As potential evidence, the suit presents corporate documents. An e-mail chain, which the complaint quoted, suggests that Wright was holding 300,000 bitcoins on behalf of Kleiman.
“[Dave] mentioned that you had 1 million Bitcoins in the trust and since you said he has 300,000 as his part. I was figuring the other 700,000 is yours,” Ira Kleiman wrote in 2013, according to The Verge. “Is that correct?”
“Around that,” Wright replied, according to The Verge. “Minus what was needed for the company’s use.”
Before leaving the limelight, Wright stepped out to “dispel any negative myths and fears” about bitcoin, noting that “I cannot allow the misinformation that has been spread to impact the future of bitcoin.” Later, a cryptographic signature Wright provided cast doubt that he was truly Nakamoto.
Whether or not Wright’s claim is true is irrelevant at this point, since bitcoin is bigger than its founder these days. “Satoshi was more than a name. It was a concept, a secret, a team, a vision. Now, Satoshi lives on in a new form – changed,” a bitcoin expert told The New York Times. “Much of the secret is gone, but the vision is still there.”