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Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Creator Wins Trial Involving $56 Billion Worth of Crypto

Various cryptocurrencies lay on a table
(Image credit: Rūdolfs Klintsons from Pexels)

A wallet containing 1.1 million Bitcoin—which is worth approximately $56 billion at the current exchange rate—will continue to lie dormant. Craig Wright, a man who has claimed to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, won a case alleging that half of those coins should be given to the estate of his business partner David Kleiman.

CNBC reported that a Miami jury ruled in Wright's favor on Monday. Although he was ordered to pay $100 million in damages to the company he co-founded with Kleiman, W&K Info Defense Research, the jury said Wright doesn't have to split the 1.1 million in Bitcoin held in the long-dormant wallet with Kleiman's estate.

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Nakamoto's identity has been something of a quiet obsession among crypto enthusiasts and journalists since the Bitcoin creator vanished in 2011. Several people have been identified as "the" Satoshi Nakamoto (there is some debate as to whether the pseudonym was used by one person or several) but none have been confirmed.

Here's a passage from the 2016 blog post in which Wright claimed to be Nakamoto:

Be assured, just as you have worked, I have not been idle during these many years. Since those early days, after distancing myself from the public persona that was Satoshi, I have poured every measure of myself into research. I have been silent, but I have not been absent. I have been engaged with an exceptional group and look forward to sharing our remarkable work when they are ready. 

Satoshi is dead.

But this is only the beginning.

Because none of the 1.1 million Bitcoin said to be owned by Nakamoto have been moved since 2011, however, Wright's claim also remains unverified. NBC reported that he said he'd prove he's Nakamoto if he won this case, but at the time of writing, that evidence has yet to be provided. It'd probably be best not to wait with bated breath.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.