As Bitcoin gains more popularity and further continues its move into the global spotlight, criticism and controversies related to the cryptocurrency can never be far away.
At the center of the latest controversy is a $10 billion lawsuit filed against Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed “creator” of Bitcoin.
Wright has been involved in several public disputes over the past few years, but this might be the biggest one he is facing yet.
Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman
The genesis of the issue goes back to the initial days of Bitcoin’s debut, when its mining on the blockchain started. Craig Wright and his late business partner, Dave Kleiman, are said to have mined a huge quantity of Bitcoins. At the time, they were in possession of the tools needed to create this wealth.
After Kleiman’s death in 2013, Wright claimed that he and Kleiman were running a company, W&K, and that Kleiman had passed over the full ownership of this company to him.
This is where the current lawsuit against Wright has emerged.
The lawsuit was filed in a Florida court by Ira, the brother of Dave Kleiman and head of his estate. Ira alleges that the document Wright has produced to claim the ownership of the company is fraudulent. Ira claims that the signature on the document is not from his brother, alleging that Wright is orchestrating a scheme to rob Kleiman’s estate of its crypto assets.
Not the First Fraud Wright is Involved in
In 2016, Wright received heaps of public backlash when he claimed that he was the real Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous figure who is credited to have created Bitcoin.
Like in the case of the company, he produced documentary evidence to try and prove his claim. But when he was confronted with objections and reservations, Wright retracted the statement that he was the creator of Bitcoin.
Also, Wright had a brush with the tax authorities in Australia when they questioned certain documents submitted by him as being suspicious. These documents were important for tax reporting.
Even Work Experience Cooked Up
Even the certificates relating to Wright’s educational qualifications, like having obtained a PhD, appear to be fabricated in retrospect.
Wright also had a LinkedIn profile where he claimed he had worked with certain companies only to later deny that he was ever employed by them. This LinkedIn profile was also later erased.
All these instances, again, point to a person who has been the subject of controversy in the past. There are reports that he fled Australia once the tax authorities pursued his case.
Making an assessment of the wealth Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman could have amassed during their partnership together, the lawsuit says the total could be anywhere between $5 billion to $10 billion.
Another source had put the figure of digital currency owned by the pair to be in the region of 1.1 million Bitcoin. At the current levels of around $11,000 for one Bitcoin, one can imagine the kind of wealth under dispute.
So, what now for Wright and the legal heirs of Dave Kleiman’s estate?
The lawsuit has to come up for hearing and Wright has to appear and put forth his side of the story, however credible it may appear. Somewhere along the line, the real value of Bitcoin that he has stashed away and what part of it belonged to the late Kleiman will have to be determined.
But for now, all eyes are on the Florida court for a judgment on what’s to come next.