Craig Wright (photo by Brendan Sullivan for Modern Consensus).
Bitcoin

Craig Wright ordered to prove he owns Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin

A lawsuit will force the Bitcoin billionaire to provide public addresses of a horde thought to be mined by crypto’s founder

It’s put up or shut up time for Craig Wright.

The Bitcoin billionaire and self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto has been ordered by a Florida court to produce records under oath of all the bitcoin he owned at the end of 2013, as well as details of a 2011 trust thought to contain approximately 1.1 million bitcoin now worth more than $6 billion.

The bitcoins thought to be contained in the Tulip Trust are believed to be those mined in the early days of the Bitcoin project by the pseudonymous Nakamoto, and being able to transfer even a fraction of them would prove the identity of the person or persons who called themselves Nakamoto in the whitepaper first describing the cryptocurrency. It is this proof that people including podcaster Peter McCormack, Binance cryptocurrency exchange CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, and Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver have been challenging Wright to provide if he is, as he claims, Nakamoto.

The lawsuit also provides a potential reason Wright has not done this: the contents of the blind trust will not revert to him until 2020.

Roger Ver (Adjusted image, source: RogerVer.com)
Roger Ver (Adjusted image, source: RogerVer.com).

Wright has now sued Ver for libel for calling him a fraud and a liar on his claims of being Nakamoto, serving him with a complaint on May 2 at a London Bitcoin Cash meetup, according to Decrypt. On April 18, Wright served “What Bitcoin Did” podcast host Peter McCormack with a similar suit, which led to Binance cryptocurrency exchange CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao delisting the Bitcoin Satoshi Version (BSV) coin Wright has championed.

The lawsuit seeking details of the Tulip Trust was brought by the estate of the late Dave Kleiman, which claims that Wright stole the Bitcoin from Kleiman.

Specifically, the court ordered Wright to produce the public addresses of all the bitcoin he owned as of December 31, 2013. It also ordered Wright to provide a sworn declaration identifying the name, location, trustees, and beneficiaries of the trust thought to contain those bitcoin. All of that information must be provided by 5 p.m. ET on May 15.

The order also demanded that a redacted version the “Bitcoin Holdings Motion” be filed in the public record, refusing Wright’s motion to seal it.

Noting that Wright argues that he is unable to produce a list of his bitcoin holdings as of December 31, 2013, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart of the U.S. Southern District of Florida wrote, “The argument that Dr. Wright is incapable of providing an accurate listing of his current or historical bitcoin holdings was never presented in any of the prior hearings before this Court … [and] does not refute the obvious response to this argument—get the information from the trustee of the blind trust.”

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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