In Florida, a trial is taking place that appears to be rather routine: The family of a dead person is litigating his former business associate for ownership of the assets that belonged to their joint venture. In this particular instance, the property in dispute are a stockpile of approximately one million bitcoins, which are currently valued at over $64 billion and belong to Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous founder of bitcoin.
According to the deceased’s family, he and his business associate were collectively known as Nakamoto, and as a result, the family is entitled to 50% of the wealth. The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto has remained one of the most persistent puzzles in the financial industry. Is the name a reference to a specific individual? Or a number of them?
And why hasn’t he, she, or they accessed a single dime of that riches so far? The replies to those issues are at the heart of both the Florida legal case and the bitcoin phenomenon as a whole. Bitcoin has grown to be a trillion-dollar market, with significant numbers of investors contributing to its growth.
It has presented a problem to authorities that have attempted to manage it, and it has received some support. Some believe that the innovation behind it has the potential to completely reorganize the world financial system. However, it has remained a secret as to who developed it and why. And that is all before we get to the bottom of who is in possession of one of the world’s biggest wealth.
That is the problem that a Florida judge will attempt to solve. The family of David Kleiman is suing his former business associate, Craig Wright, a 51-year-old Australian programmer who lives in London and works in the financial services industry. Mr. Wright has been claiming that he invented bitcoin since 2016, an assertion that has been disregarded by the majority of the bitcoin community. Ms. Kleiman’s family asserts that the two collaborated on bitcoin development and mining, and that as a result, Mr. Kleiman’s family is entitled to 500,000 bitcoins.
In the words of Vel Freedman, an attorney representing the Kleiman family, “we think the data will establish that there was a cooperation to generate and mine more than one million bitcoin.”
The plaintiffs intend to present evidence proving that the two have been active with bitcoin since its conception and have collaborated on projects. According to Tibor Nagy, a lawyer who has been attending the case, “it is about two friends who established a collaboration, and about how one of them attempted to steal it all for himself after another departed.”
The defense claims it has documentation that Mr. Wright is the inventor of bitcoin and that Mr. Kleiman was never involved in the invention. In the words of Andrés Rivero, an attorney for Mr. Wright, “we think the court will conclude there is nothing to suggest or establish that they were in collaboration.”
One bit of proof that bitcoiners believe can clearly confirm the authenticity of Satoshi Nakamoto is his private key, which allows them to access the bitcoin account where Nakamoto stashed the one million bitcoins.
Using simply a fraction of a coin out of a coin jar, anyone professing to be Satoshi Nakamoto might demonstrate that he or she holds the bitcoins. One of the most intriguing aspects of bitcoin is the mystery surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto. Somebody going by the name of “electronic cash” sent a nine-page paper to a group of cryptographers on Oct. 31, 2008, outlining how the system would work “people to trade value without the involvement of a bank or any other third party.”
The bitcoin network went live a few months later, and Nakamoto amassed a total of one million bitcoins in its first year of operation. It was earlier in 2008, according to the family of Mr. Kleiman, that Mr. Wright, Mr. Kleiman’s business partner, requested Mr. Kleiman’s assistance in writing what would eventually become the nine-page document. According to the lawsuit, they collaborated on the bitcoin white paper and launched the cryptocurrency jointly.
Bitcoin used elements of encryption, cryptography, distributed computing, and game theory to create a new type of currency. Without the use of an intermediary, two persons from anywhere in the globe who have an internet connection might deal in minutes using bitcoin. For every single one of the more than 650 million bitcoin transactions, which are all publicly visible on a ledger known as the “blockchain,” there is a bitcoin transaction fee “There are two strings of figures that govern how cryptocurrency is shifted: a public key and a private key. The public key is the series of numbers that is displayed on the screen.”
Anyone can transfer bitcoin to the public key, which is also known as the destination address, which is akin to a checking account in the traditional sense. Only the person who manages the account will have access to the private key, and hence will be considered the legal owner of the bitcoin. In the early days of bitcoin, nobody was really concerned with the identity of the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin has no monetary value and only a limited number of supporters at the time of its creation. Nakamoto was involved in the development of the software for around two years, posting messages on message boards and exchanging emails with developers.
Nakamoto, who was known to utilise two email addresses and to have one registered website, stopped posting publicly in December 2010, thus disappearing from the face of the earth. The number of persons who possess the necessary technical skills to manufacture bitcoin is quite restricted. Nakamoto is a pseudonym used to refer to a number of important figures in cryptography. All have denied it, and there has never been any clear evidence linking anyone to the invention of bitcoin.
In the meantime, in 2011, Mr. Kleiman established a Florida-based company named W&K Info Defense Research to conduct information-defense research. His family asserts that it was collaboration at the time, and that Mr. Wright afterwards attempted to claim sole control of the company. According to the defense, there was no collaboration at all. Mr. Kleiman died on April 26, 2013, at the age of 91.
Following that, Newsweek reported that a guy with the same last name as Satoshi—Dorian Nakamoto—had been identified as the cryptocurrency’s developer. It was disputed, and a single-sentence post on a message board from an account believed to have been from the real Nakamoto confirmed it: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
If it was a true message from Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, it would be the last public communication from him. Mr. Wright stated in May 2016 that he was the creator of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Meeting with several of the early bitcoin pioneers, giving exclusive interviews to three media outlets, and compiling papers on cryptography and bitcoin for publication on his website are just some of the things he did.
After receiving a barrage of negative feedback, he withdrew his claim three days later. He took everything off from the website and replaced it with a four-paragraph apology, which he posted on Twitter.
“I had a breakdown, He penned a letter. I don’t have the guts to do it. I’m afraid I can’t.” Since then, he has reiterated his claim that he is the inventor of bitcoin.
It is debatable whether Mr. Wright or Mr. Kleiman holds or possessed the expertise necessary to have invented the cryptocurrency in question. Mr. Wright “has been hacking, bamboozling, and misleading people, and playing the confidence game,” according to the New York Times. Mr. Wright’s most vocal critics include bitcoin investor Arthur van Pelt, who has emerged as one of the most outspoken opponents of Mr. Wright.
“There is absolutely no authentic, independent, or trustworthy proof of any kind.”
Mr. Kleiman was well-known for having a wide range of computing skills. According to Emin Gun Sirer, founder of Ava Labs, it is possible that Mr. Kleiman was the inventor of bitcoin, but there isn’t enough information to be certain. “It’s an open question,” he explained.