Dave Kleiman couldn't even get a loan at 400%, Craig Wright claims (via Wikimedia Commons).
Bitcoin,  People

Alleged Bitcoin inventor Dave Kleiman denied payday loan the day he died

Craig Wright’s partner may have owned half of bitcoin cache now worth billions, but died in such poverty he was refused loan of a few hundred dollars, court documents reveal

Bitcoin is worth $145 billion—but the man many believe invented it died so broke, he was even rejected for a predatory payday loan on the very day he died. 

Dave Kleiman, who died in 2013, was the partner of self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright. If Wright really is the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, that would make Kleiman the technical brains behind bitcoin.

Wright made the payday loan claim in a legal document filed on November 20. Kleiman’s brother Ira is suing Wright, saying the estate is owed half of a $10 billion bitcoin cache mined by Nakamoto. (Which is actually worth about $9 billion at current prices at press time.)

Wright’s claim to be Nakamoto has been widely mocked and he has been called a liar by many in the cryptocurrency community.

That Kleiman was denied a payday loan is another sad note in his gruesome death. The week-long loans are generally for a few hundred dollars, and have annual interest rates that can top 400%, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Kleiman was living in squalor at the time of his death, according to Gizmodo. His home was in foreclosure. His decomposing body was found a month after he checked himself out of a VA hospital. Investigators said that they found a loaded gun, alcohol bottles, and a bullet hole in his mattress but no body wounds. Kleiman, who used a wheelchair, left behind tracks through pools of blood and feces.  

The loan claim came as an aside during a legal battle over what documents each side should provide in the ongoing lawsuit. Wright’s attorneys are seeking Dave Kleiman’s tax returns and other financial documents. 

Wright’s demands came soon after attorneys for Kleiman’s brother Ira had asked the court to allow an expedited deposition of Jamie Wilson, who was CFO of Wright’s companies at the time of Kleiman’s death

That request was made by Kleiman’s team after Wright backed out of settlement negotiations facilitated by an unnamed third party. Wilson, who lives in Australia, was in the U.S. on November 8. Deposing him here would save the time and expense of setting up a video deposition, Kleiman’s attorneys told a judge four days earlier. Wright’s legal team fought the request, which didn’t give them the required 14 days to prepare.

In the filing in which Wright mentioned Dave Kleiman’s payday loan, his attorneys said there was no need to have deposed Wright so quickly.

“During [Wilson’s] expedited deposition, we learned that [Kleiman’s] arguments for an expedited deposition were outright false,” Wright’s attorneys told the court in documents also released on November 20. 

They explained that “Mr. Wilson had reached out to plaintiffs in July of this year and gave them documents, which they never provided to us and was months before any settlement discussions … and he frequently travels to the U.S. and has always made himself available to plaintiffs for his deposition.”

Modern Consensus reached out to Wright’s attorneys, who said they would not comment on a pending case.

Updated at 12:00 p.m. November 21, to clarify that we meant the value of bitcoin at press time.

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Brendan Sullivan is a writer, producer, and author of the memoir Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives. Disclosure: he owns cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter.