Bitcoin ‘Inventor’ Craig Wright Claims He Can’t Access Coins in Court Testimony

Bitcoin ‘Inventor’ Craig Wright Claims He Can’t Access Coins in Court Testimony

On June 28, Craig Wright, the Australian native who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, spent the day in a Florida court battling with the Kleiman attorney. Wright became emotional when he told the court that he designed the network but didn’t like how it turned out. At one point he told the court he was “ashamed of his invention.”

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The Alleged Blind Trust Setup Makes It Difficult for Wright to Access Certain Keys

Craig Wright testified in court on Friday that he was the one who invented Bitcoin and wrote the whitepaper. In the Florida lawsuit, Craig Wright is accused of interfering with the now deceased David Kleiman’s bitcoin assets and intellectual property. The Kleiman estate doesn’t seem to know if Wright and David invented Bitcoin, but the plaintiffs believe they both were involved in early mining. Wright has been claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto for years and more recently he’s been far more brazen about it. So far, however, Wright has failed to prove he’s Satoshi to the greater Bitcoin community. A number of crypto supporters have called him a fraud and he’s become a very controversial character throughout crypto-related social media. According to court reporters on Friday, Wright was asked why he’s been unable to produce a list of public addresses to his bitcoin holdings.

Bitcoin 'Inventor' Craig Wright Claims He Can't Access Coins in Court Testimony
Wright told the court that the keys to the Tulip Trust were encrypted and inaccessible to him. Wright’s counsel detailed in a prior hearing: “The private key needed to access the encrypted file with the data necessary to retrieve information about bitcoin Dr. Wright mined after block 70 has been split into multiple key shares (in lay terms, multiple parts) through a version of “Shamir’s Secret Sharing Algorithm.”

Wright told the court he was unable to access this information because the keys to his blind trust (Tulip Trust) were held by various people. The trust has at least 15 different key “slices” according to Wright and eight of them in total are needed to access the funds. Wright detailed that David had some keys and he told Kleiman to give them to bonded couriers. At a later date, the couriers would give the keys back to the rightful owners. He told Judge Bruce Reinhart that some of the keys would not be made available until 2020.

“So since 2016, you have known that you didn’t have access to these files and wouldn’t have access until 2020?” Reinhart asked. “And you knew that in February 2019 and in March 2019?”

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Vel Freedman, asked Wright why a company he didn’t buy until 2014 was listed as a beneficiary of a trust Wright claimed to have created in 2012. Wright stated that he didn’t recognize the documents in front of him and witnesses explained that Wright did not recall a lot of specific documents. However, during almost every document question, Wright stated that he didn’t recognize the filing and the Kleimans’ counsel reminded him they were “documents you produced in discovery.” When the plaintiffs asked who holds the 15 key slices, Wright replied that he had some but he didn’t know the rest of the beneficiaries off the top of his head. Wright said he wished that he could comply by producing the list and stated: “If there was any way at all that I could, then I would.”

“My wife and I consider it’s too much money,” Wright said when referring to the Tulip Trust. “I’ve got enough now … and we worry what that amount of money would do to the kids.”

Bitcoin 'Inventor' Craig Wright Claims He Can't Access Coins in Court Testimony
“I created Bitcoin to be the first digital cash system not connected to crime. The Silk Road was made for the sale of heroin, MDMA, Fentanyl, weapons, then a reputation system was developed for assassination markets and for terrorism,” Wright told the court according to a thread stemming from the Twitter account @PJM.

Wright Assumed Bitcoin Wouldn’t be Used for Crime

Wright also choked up on the stand and told the court he invented Bitcoin for the millions of unbanked global citizens but not for criminal activity. Wright insisted that things like the Silk Road, Hydra, and trading illicit goods made him “ashamed” of his invention. When Wright was cross-examined he told the court he was Satoshi and that he wrote the original whitepaper. Oddly, Wright declared he left the scene and stopped mining bitcoins in 2010 because of things like the Silk Road. However, the infamous darknet marketplace did not launch until February 2011. “I brought in Dave because he was a friend and he knew who I was and he was a forensic expert, and I wanted to wipe everything I had to do with Bitcoin from the public record,” Wright argued. He added that the Tulip Trust money would be used to help educate and fund charity, adding:

I set up bitcoin to be honest money — I set up bitcoin to fix the problems of every other digital cash that had been. Every single other one had fallen to crime. I thought I would set up the world’s first digital cash that would not fall to crime.

Court Room Emotions Run High

Wright claimed he almost destroyed all of his early bitcoins and Kleiman persuaded him to keep the coins. Looking back now Wright says he would have destroyed the hard drive with a hammer if he could turn back time. The self-styled Satoshi was asked about the forged email sent on December 20, 2012, which appoints Uyen Nguyen as director of the company Kleiman and Wright operated called W&K Info Defense Research.

Wright opposed the accusation and told the court that the Kleiman estate was misleading the court by bringing doctored documents. He claims that the email came from a compromised server and a person trying to blackmail him. “You want me to comment on a file from a server run by a person who was trying to force me into liquidation so they could sell my intellectual property?” Wright asked the court. Court reporters and attendees said Wright became emotional at this point and threw the alleged forgery document up in the air.

“You throw another document in my courtroom, you will be in handcuffs so fast your head will spin,” Judge Reinhart warned Wright.

The Kleiman estate believes that Wright forged the document in order to gain access to David’s bitcoin inheritance and vast amounts of intellectual property. Wright believes the entire case is a witch hunt and that the Kleiman family is motivated by pure greed. “I do not manipulate metadata on things for any purpose,” Wright insisted. He declared that Ira tried to access David’s funds but couldn’t access the bitcoins. The expert witnesses from the defense side and the plaintiffs did not get a chance to testify in court and the date for the proceeding has not been set. Both parties now have to appear in court before Judge Beth Bloom on July 10.

What do you think about the Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit involving billions of dollars worth of bitcoin? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Feel like you missed something? Check out our full coverage of the Kleiman v. Wright case here:


Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, Pixabay, PJM, and Reddit.


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Tags in this story
Bitcoin, Bitcoin Keys, Bitcoin Lawsuit, Blocks 1-70, C01N Ltd, Court, Craig Wright, David Kleiman, Dr. Wright, Early Mining Days, Florida, Florida Court System, Ira Kleiman, Judge Beth Bloom, Judge Reinhart, Kleiman Estate, Kleiman v. Wright, Law, Litigation, N-Featured, private keys, Public Addresses, Risk & Finance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Self Proclaimed Satoshi, Signing, Uyen Nguyen, Vel Freedman

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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