Mysterious man who says he invented Bitcoin wins key trial — gets to keep a king’s ransom in cryptocurrency

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A computer scientist who maintains he is the inventor of Bitcoin prevailed in a trial on Monday and now gets to keep tens of billions of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency.

A jury in Florida found that Craig Wright did not owe half of 1.1 million Bitcoins to the family of former business partner David Kleiman, Fox Business reported.

The extremely technical case found jurors listening to testimony involving “explanations of the intricate workings of cryptocurrencies as well as the murky origins of how Bitcoin came to be,” the outlet reported, which likely led to jurors taking an entire week to deliberate, during which they asked several questions of attorneys on both sides as well as the judge to determine how cryptocurrencies work. They also asked questions about the former business relationship between Wright and Kleiman.

The focal point of the trial was the enormous number of Bitcoins, which — based on Monday’s prices — were valued at around $50 billion. They were among the first Bitcoins to be created via mining and therefore could only be owned by the entity or person who was involved with the creation of the cryptocurrency from the outset, Fox Business noted.

That in and of itself — how Bitcoins came to be — is something of a mystery and is a large part of why there was so much interest in the trial.

At the peak of the 2008 financial crisis, someone named “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper outlining the concept of a digital currency free from any legal or sovereign entity and authority. A few months later, mining for the cryptocurrency began.

The Japanese name of Nakamoto, which essentially means “at the center of,” was never thought to be the Bitcoin creator’s actual name. In fact, there are those in the cryptocurrency realm who don’t believe that Nakamoto was just one person.

Nevertheless, since 2016, Wright has claimed that he is Nakamoto, though that has been greeted with a healthy amount of skepticism from much of the cryptocurrency world.

“Due to its structure, all transactions of Bitcoin are public and the 1.1 million Bitcoins in question have remained untouched since Wright’s big reveal,” Fox Business reported. “Members of the Bitcoin community have regularly called for Wright to move just a fraction of the coins into a separate account to register that he truly is as wealthy as he claims.”

The outlet noted that David Kleiman passed away in April 2013. His brother, Ira Kleiman, and the Kleiman family has maintained that David and Wright were very close and that they co-created Bitcoin via a partnership. As such, Kleiman’s estate filed a lawsuit for half the Bitcoins at issue as well as intellectual property rights.

But Wright’s attorneys have repeatedly argued that David Kleiman and their client were indeed friends who collaborated on some projects, but that their partnership was unrelated to the creation of the cryptocurrency and other earlier operations.

Wright has said he would donate much of the Bitcoin billions to charities if he won at trial.

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