A recent lawsuit filed in a Florida court seeks more than $10 billion worth of Bitcoins from an individual who claims to be one of three Bitcoin inventors. The lawsuit doesn’t go into Scooby-Doo mode to unravel the mysteries of Bitcoin’s origin, but instead roots out what could be a scheme to hoard Bitcoins for personal gain. To understand what is going on, you need to break down the lawsuit’s timeline.
The lawsuit centers around three individuals: Paralyzed coder Dave Kleinman who died in 2013 due to complications stemming from an illness, wealthy Australian Craig Wright, and Ira Kleinman, Dave’s brother and executor of his estate. Ira Kleinman is suing Craig Wright on behalf of his brother regarding Bitcoins generated between 2011 and up to Dave Kleinman’s passing in 2013.
According to the lawsuit, Dave Kleinman and Craig Wright were in communication in March 2008, just seven months before the Bitcoin whitepaper published in October 2008. By January 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto — the pseudonym used by Bitcoin’s creator — created the very first block of Bitcoin transaction data. Nine days later, Kleinman, Wright, and “two others” successfully conducted a Bitcoin transaction. Eventually, Kleinman tells his brother Ira that he’s creating digital currency with “a wealthy foreign man.“
In 2011, Kleinman and Wright launched a new Florida-based business called W&K Info Defense Research LLC targeting the development of Bitcoin-based technologies. According to the lawsuit, Kleinman was the “sole member” while Wright served as his “business partner.” From the point they launched the business until Kleinman’s death in 2013, the coder retained ownership of all Bitcoins mined under the company’s banner.
But shortly after Kleinman’s death, Wright told Kleinman’s father that both men were two of three individuals responsible for Bitcoin’s creation. Wright then delivered documents to the Kleinman family showing that Dave Kleinman transferred ownership of the business to Wright in the case of possible death. Brother Ira Kleinman called foul play, accusing Wright of fraud by backdating documents and forging the deceased’s signature using a computer font.
To keep the accusations from going public, Wright promised Ira Kleinman that his brother’s estate would be paid what Dave owned during those two years under the W&K Info Defense Research LLC banner. That never happened, forcing Ira Kleinman to file a lawsuit against Wright this month. According to the lawsuit, the Bitcoin amount will be determined by the court.
Based on evidence provided in the lawsuit, there is a clear difference between Kleinman‘s signature and the ones seen on the alleged forged documents. According to one of two lawyers responsible for the lawsuit, “the proverbial ball is in Craig’s court at this point.“
“It doesn’t matter whether either of them were involved in the Satoshi team or are Satoshi themselves,” the lawyer added. “All that matters is what is clear from Craig’s admissions and evidence and emails: That they were involved in Bitcoin mining from the inception of Bitcoin or very shortly thereafter.”
The lawsuit is in the Florida court given it’s the home state of W&K Info Defense Research LLC.