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

Craig Wright to testify secretly about Satoshi Nakamoto identity

A federal judge agreed to close the court for a hearing that could provide evidence that Wright is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin

Updated at 11:10 a.m. on June 28, 2019 to correct the date of the bitcoin keys Craig Wright was ordered to produce.

Craig Wright has convinced a Florida federal judge to let him provide testimony that could potentially prove his claim to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto in secret.

Wright is being sued by the estate of his former partner Dave Kleiman for half of a cache of 1.1 million bitcoin—worth nearly $12 billion at press time—mined in the early days of Bitcoin called the Tulip Trust. Wright was ordered to produce a list of the public keys of all bitcoin he possessed before December 31, 2013.

In a June 27 filing, Wright asked the federal district court for the Southern District of Florida to close the courtroom when he and several expert witnesses testify at an evidentiary hearing. The self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin is facing civil and potentially criminal contempt charges for failing to produce information demanded by Judge Bruce Reinhart.

Stephen Palley, a lawyer who has been following the case, said on Twitter that the request to close the courtroom has been granted. The contempt portion of the hearing will be open, he added.

Many of Wright’s doubters in the cryptocurrency community—and they are legion—have said that making even a small transfer from the Tulip Trust would prove he is Nakamoto, and have challenged him to do so.

In an earlier Tweet Thursday, Palley asked rhetorically, “If you feel really strongly that you are telling the truth about something you think is really important would you want your testimony about it live broadcast for the entire world to see, or sealed and closed off from the public eye?”

The problem, Wright told the court, is that he doesn’t currently have access to the Tulip Trust, which requires multiple passwords held by different people to open.

He will testify himself, and call three other witnesses, including nChain CTO Steve Shadders. The second is Brett Robertson, described as an expert in digital forensics and PGP encryption signatures. A third expert witness is Kevin Madura, who has “has extensive knowledge and expertise related to cryptography, cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain,” according to the filing.

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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 has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.