Craig Wright: I'm just smarter than you, your honor.
Bitcoin

Craig Wright faces jail for contempt of court

Federal Judge Bruce Reinhart orders Wright to produce evidence he is Satoshi Nakamoto on Monday

Craig Wright’s assertion that he cannot provide a Florida court with a complete list of his bitcoin holdings is a bunch of hooey, and he’ll go to jail if he doesn’t pony up.

That is, roughly, the gist of a court order issued by federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida on Friday, ordering Wright to produce evidence Monday that can prove he is pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

Wright has sued Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver and “What Bitcoin Did” podcast host Peter McCormack for libel for denying that he is Nakamoto.

Wright is being sued for 1.1 million bitcoin—currently worth more than $9 billion—by the estate of the late Dave Kleiman. If Wright is Nakamoto, that should include the contents of the Tulip Trust, which is believed to contain the bitcoin mined by Nakamoto shortly after the Bitcoin blockchain went live.

Specifically, Wright has until June 17 to provide the court with a list of the public addresses of all bitcoin he mined prior to December 31, 2013. He has also been ordered to appear in court at the end of the month to face a contempt of court hearing that could see him jailed.

Judge Reinhart noted that Wright’s May 8 declaration to the court stated that he does not have access to that information because it is in a blind trust he cannot access. The court said Wright claimed that the trust is encrypted using a multi-key encryption tool called a Shamir Secret Sharing Algorithm to which he does not have all the keys. That claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, Reinhart said.

“His declaration indicates that he is aware of the other individuals who possess decryption keys,” Judge Reinhart said in the order to compel. “Those individuals are trustees of Dr. Wright’s blind trust. He has not explained why he cannot obtain, and has not obtained, the necessary keys from these third parties.”

Given that, Wright has “failed to demonstrate that [he] cannot through reasonable diligence comply with the court’s March 14 order,” said Judge Reinhart. The Bitcoin public key list was supposed to be given to the court by May 15.

Wright was ordered to appear before Judge Beth Bloom in Florida on June 28 “to show cause why he should not be adjudged in civil and/or criminal contempt by reason of these facts.”

Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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