The Australian scientist who claims he created Bitcoin (BTC), said at a federal court hearing in West Palm Beach, Florida, that he cannot comply with an order to produce a list of all his early Bitcoin addresses, and may not even be ever able to access the coins.
Craig Wright is defending himself against charges that he stole Bitcoins and intellectual property worth billions from a late business partner. The case could potentially help shed light on whether he really is Satoshi Nakamoto, something that many in the cryptocurrency community doubt.
Mr. Wright told the judge that he is Mr. Nakamoto, the pseudonym used by the digital token’s creator in Y 2009, and that Dave Kleiman, whose estate is suing him, was tasked with covering up Mr. Wright’s tracks, so people would not find out he was/is Satoshi.
Mr. Wright said he decided to stop working on Bitcoin in Y 2010, the result of concern that the token was increasingly being used to trade drugs and child pornography.
“I brought in Dave because he was a friend and he knew who I was and he was a forensic expert, and I wanted to wipe everything I had to do with Bitcoin from the public record,” he said.
Billions are potentially riding on the outcome.
The creator likely owns about $10-B Bitcoin based on current prices, casting great sway over the market. Bitcoin SV, an offshoot that Mr. Wright supports, is valued at about $3.9-B, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Mr. Wright said he handed off a Key piece of information to Mr. Kleiman before he died in Y 2013, making it hard to track down the digital wallets holding the Bitcoins. He said it is possible he may never be able to access the coins.
“My wife and I consider it is too much money,” Mr. Wright said. “I have got enough now… and we worry what that amount of money would do to the kids.”
The case got started early last year, when Mr. Kleiman’s estate filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Wright stole “hundreds of thousands” of Bitcoins and intellectual property from when they worked together.
Messrs Kleiman and Wright used to be business partners, according to the estate’s lawsuit. After Kleiman’s death in April 2013, Mr. Wright allegedly forged a series of contracts to transfer assets and companies to himself, the lawsuit said. Mr. Wright has denied all allegations.
A federal judge ordered Wright to submit documentation of his early Bitcoin holdings. Mr. Wright had previously said in filings that that would be difficult, as his holdings are in a blind trust, guarded by multiple trustees.
Mr. Wright attended mediation in Florida in mid-June, but “case did not settle,” according to a court document.
In late Y 2015, Wired magazine and Gizmodo reported that Messrs Wright and Kleiman may have invented Bitcoin. A few days later, Wired said Wright may instead be “a brilliant hoaxer.” Police raided Mr. Wright’s home in Australia as part of a tax investigation; he moved to the UK.
Bitcoin holdings attributed to Mr. Nakamoto have not moved in years, according to online ledgers. Critics have urged Mr. Wright to verify his identity by transferring some coins, a proposal he has refused.
Currently, Bitcoin is trading at: 12,045.25-309.48 (-2.50%)As of 11:31p BST, the Market is open.
Have a terrific weekend.