Craig Wright Tulip Trust III
Cryptocurrencies,  People

EXCLUSIVE: Would-be Satoshi Craig Wright produces Tulip Trust III

The judge in the $8.7 billion lawsuit by the estate of Wright’s late partner sealed yet another document that Wright says proves he has the 1.1 million bitcoins mined by Satoshi Nakamoto

In yet another twist, yet another new document might save Craig Wright anywhere from $650,000 to $4.3 billion: Tulip Trust III. 

On January 6, 2020, the nChain chief scientist and self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto dumped more than 400 new documents on Ira Kleiman’s lawyers, among them word of a third Tulip Trust. The brother of Wright’s late partner Dave Kleiman says he’s entitled to half of the 1.1 million bitcoins mined by Satoshi Nakamoto at the beginning of the Bitcoin project. That’s currently worth almost $8.7 billion

A little head’s up would be nice.

The original Tulip Trust is the heavily encrypted document containing the keys to the 1,100,111 million bitcoins, Wright claims. He said he locked it away under Kleiman’s care. Ira Kleiman said Wright stole half of that from his brother.

The alleged existence of Tulip Trust II came later in the case. 

Of course, all of this assumes Wright actually is Nakamoto. Wright has been accused of filing forged documents in this case before. Notably, Tulip Trust I was timestamped Oct. 23, 2012, yet it was in a font created in 2015. Wright has claimed that the reason is that the document was scanned by an optical character recognition program using the newer font.

Locked away no more

Wright has said the original Tulip Trust was encrypted with several keys that would be delivered to him on Jan. 1, 2020 by a bonded courier. So far, he has not said if he’s received it. Nor has he moved any of those bitcoins, which would substantially bolster his widely disbelieved claim to be Nakamoto.

Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has said flat out that Wright lied in court, and ordered him to pay $650,000 in legal expenses to Kleiman.

The original Tulip Trust document claimed that Dave Kleiman received 1.1 million bitcoins for the trust and that 100% of it “will be returned to Dr Wright on Jan 01st 2020.” Other documents submitted by Kleiman but purportedly from Wright himself Kleiman was owed 320,000 bitcoins—a 70-30 split. 

In August, Reinhart ruled that the trust should have been a 50-50 split, including the intellectual property of Bitcoin itself. 

Depending on what this Tulip Trust III says, it could reverse the award of legal fees, confirm the split, or cost Wright the entire fortune. If there is one.

When he ruled against Wright in the first part of the trial, Judge Reinhart said that the “Tulip Trust” documents didn’t add up. That is, Wright later said, because there is also a more than one “Tulip Trust.”

Many assumed this meant a “Tulip Trust II.” Today’s filing is the first mention of the third trust, “Tulip Trust III.”

Tulip Trust III

Kleiman’s lawyers aren’t happy about that.

“In advance of today’s discovery hearing, Plaintiffs will be filing a Notice of Filing attaching a third Tulip Trust document (“Tulip Trust III”) that was not produced under this Court’s prior order to produce all documents related to the “blind” tulip trust,” they said in a filing. “Plaintiffs received this document for the first time on January 6, 2020, amongst a production of 428 other documents, without any explanation as to its late disclosure, or even an email pointing out this document had been produced.”

Although Wright flagged it as “confidential,” meaning he could ask for it to be sealed, Kleiman’s lawyers acquiesced to keep things moving.

Local rules in Florida give Wright 10 days to request a document be sealed. But, Kleiman’s attorneys asked for it to be done immediately. The discovery hearing to discuss the document was held later that same day to meet the cutoff for documents that will be considered during the trial.

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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.