Bitcoin Inventor to Keep $71 B Fortune After Legal Battle

An Australian man who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, has prevailed in a civil trial against the family of his deceased business partner who claimed they were owed half of a cryptocurrency fortune worth tens of billions.

On Monday, the case brought Wright to the front lines of one of the most contentious debates in crypto: whether the creator of bitcoin deserves to be rewarded. Bitcoiners say it’s just a currency and shouldn’t be tied to any person or company. Those who believe in a creator or gods have their own theories about who he or she could be. But all agree that bitcoin was created by someone, even if they can’t agree on who. Wright is just one of several people vying to be recognized as bitcoin’s creator.

There are at least five other claimants in the US, including self-described “Satoshi Nakamoto,” Craig Wright, who has sued for copyright infringement, and Peter Vessenes, the former president of the Bitcoin Foundation. Wright and Vessenes are among a growing number of people claiming to be the true originator of bitcoin.

The jury found that Wright did not owe half of 1.1m bitcoins to the family of David Kleiman. However, the jury did award US$100m in intellectual property rights to a joint venture between the two men, a fraction of what Kleiman’s lawyers were asking for at trial.

“This has been a remarkably good outcome, and I feel completely vindicated,” Wright said in a video posted to Twitter immediately following the verdict.

Satoshi Nakamoto publised paper in 2008 and he paper explained how the bitcoin network would operate: How transactions would be verified by a decentralized set of users (the miners) and recorded in a public ledger (the blockchain). The paper described the benefits of this network.

Mining for the currency, which involves computers solving mathematical equations, began a few months afterwards.

The name Nakamoto, which basically translated from Japanese to mean ‘at the centre of’ was never considered to be the real name of Bitcoin’s creator.

Wright’s claim that he is Nakamoto has been met with scepticism from a sizeable portion of the cryptocurrency community.

And during the trial, both Wright and other cryptocurrency experts testified under oath that Wright owns the bitcoins in question.

Wright has said he would prove his ownership if he were to win at trial.