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Many people, including Elon Musk, have denied being “Satoshi ‎Nakamoto”, but only one, Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, has declared that he is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. Wright made his claim in 2016, backing it up by signing a message using the same private key that was used in the first Bitcoin transaction. However, there is still substantial scepticism in the cryptocurrency community, where his assertions are broadly dismissed as a hoax.

Now Wright is stood accused of fraudulently acquiring more than $5 billion from the estate of computer-security expert Dave Kleiman who died in 2013. Kleiman’s family alleges that Wright unlawfully gained control of Bitcoin mined by Kleiman. The family’s lawyers say that, “Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him’’, and that Wright, “backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them”.

Developing Bitcoin in Secret

Kleiman and Wright had worked together on W&K Info Defense Research LLC, a cybersecurity firm, as well as on the development of Bitcoin and its mining. The suit alleges that together they had access to 1.1 million Bitcoin by the time Kleiman died, and that for whatever reason, “they chose to keep their involvement in Bitcoin hidden from most of their family and friends”. It was this opacity which allowed Wright to access Kleiman’s wealth without the family’s knowledge.

The plaintiffs suggest that W&K documents show that Kleiman was the firm’s sole member. If that is the case, then Kleiman’s estate should receive the 1.1 million Bitcoin.

Wright has yet to issue a statement on the lawsuit, though in response to a question on Twitter asking what it was all about, he simply said, “Greed”.

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