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Bitcoin Businesses The Almighty Buck The Courts

'Satoshi' Craig Wright Is Being Sued For $10 Billion For Stealing His Partner's Bitcoin (coindesk.com) 92

Craig Wright, the nChain chief scientist who previously claimed to be the pseudonymous bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is being sued for a whopping $10 billion for stealing $5 billion in bitcoin from a former business partner. CoinDesk reports: The lawsuit is being brought by Ira Kleiman on behalf of the estate of his brother, Dave, who has been linked to the earliest days of bitcoin. Kleiman, a forensic computer investigator and author, passed away in 2013 following a battle with MRSA. At the heart of the new lawsuit, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Feb. 14, is an alleged hoard of more than 1.1 million bitcoins, which Ira Kleiman's lawyers say is worth in excess of $10 billion. He is being represented by Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

Wright, court records show, has been accused of allegedly conducting "a scheme against Dave's estate to seize Dave's bitcoins and his rights to certain intellectual property associated with the Bitcoin technology." "As part of this plan, Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave's assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him. Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave's signature on them," attorneys for the plaintiff wrote. Included alongside the complaint are a number of additional filings, including the business registration for a firm called W&K Info Defense Research LLC, in which Kleiman and Wright were business partners. In addition to the roughly 1.1 million bitcoins, Ira Kleiman is also seeking compensation for the intellectual property his lawyers claim arose from the partnership between his deceased brother and Wright.

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'Satoshi' Craig Wright Is Being Sued For $10 Billion For Stealing His Partner's Bitcoin

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, 2018 @06:06PM (#56190809)
    There's currently about 17 million bitcoins in existence. So if just one of these early players has 1.1 million of them, how many in total are hoarded by the founders while the suckers who were late to the party bid up the value on a small handful of coins.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This hierarchical structure you're lamenting about exists at every level of society and has since the existence of our species. The innovators or the tyrants tend to obtain a larger portion of the pie. Wealth itself, be it USD, Euro, real-estate or anything else is concentrated. This applies to skills too. The top 100 chess players win almost everything. The top 100 tennis players win almost everything. Federer has won more grand slams than I can count and so has Serena. Around 100 or fewer programmers desi

      • Hierarchical structure eh? Maybe those pharaohs were on to something.

      • Your first paragraph says that some people are better at some things than other people. Not really a surprising revelation. However, it says nothing about the best distribution of income. Presumably, we want to reward people for doing well, but how much of the GDP should the top 100 get, and the top 100 in what? (I'm not sure how many people can wiggle their ears fully independently, but it can't be all that many. Still, I make my living relying on my less fantastic software development skills rather

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @07:06PM (#56191113)

      how many in total are hoarded by the founders while the suckers who were late to the party bid up the value on a small handful of coins.

      Draw a black box around the Bitcoin ecosystem. This is what flows into the system:

      1a. Money from new investors

      This is what flows out of the system:

      1b. Money going to investors cashing out.
      2b. Money going to the miners for transaction fees.
      3b. Money going to power companies.

      1a = 1b + 2b + 3b

      So, since 2b>0 and 3b>0, obviously 1b<1a both now and in the long run.

      Now some of you may call me inconsistent, because in the past I have been a cheerleader for bitcoin. So what has changed? What has changed is that I have sold all my bitcoins and I no longer have any skin in the game.

      • Transactions fees are paid by the sender, they don't depend on new money entering the system. Those fees don't flow out of the system.

        A lot of the miners are located where they don't need to pay much for power. Either because it's very cheap to purchase where they are, or because there's unused capacity they can utilize. Think on-premise power plants.

        You omitted the block rewards.

        • I assumed he meant block rewards for the miners (who immediately cash out). Because you are right, transaction fees are paid in bitcoin, and miners who don't cash out become investors

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        That wouldn't be a problem if you were not simply counting the cash-out value of bitcoin. If you instead added value to your bitcoins by using them to buy stuff semi-anonymously, dodge taxes, support dissidents etc. then it's much harder to calculate their worth.

        There are lots of scam crypto currencies, but I think with bitcoin it's just that people had an expectation of getting rich from mining and buying in early, like a mixture of gold rush and currency speculation. If you want to use bitcoins for other

      • It's supply versus demand. About half the bitcoins created are in circulation, the rest are believed lost.

        There are several whales who own the bulk of the remaining coins with something less than 5% available to all the other investors. That little amount in circulation is what drove prices, the whales started selling with the peak prices and it's been falling since as they move out of bitcoin and in the process increase the available trading coins by about 10times. If all the whales abandon bitcoin the pri

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @06:24PM (#56190913) Homepage Journal

    The key problem here is one factor, valuation.

    It has no intrinsic value.

    It only has inferred value.

    The value depends on the market, if and when such a market is in existence.

    It's worth at least one-percent of a wooden vessel cargo pallet of tulips.

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      How many times are people going to make the same old two arguments:

      No intrinsic value

      but people pay for them so they have value

      but but but but but...

      At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. People will keep paying for them and some people will make a ton of money while others will lose money. It's just like the stock market - it doesn't matter if the company is actually valuable if the stock price does things that earn you money.

      And...this is gen 1 (or maybe 1.5). Blockchain by itself is viable for quit

    • I don't know why people keep saying there's no intrinsic value.

      There's quite a bit of value in being able to send BTC anywhere in the world without first getting an intermediary's permission.

      There's value in no one being able to take your BTC without either getting your permission or obtaining the private key. A court judgment can seize you bank account, but not your BTC.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is hardly new though. That Picasso has little value as a wall covering or as fuel on your fire, but courts don't have difficulty assigning a value of millions to it.

  • At least all these institutions attacking him believe he is. Makes me more confident in Bitcoin Cash, that's for sure.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The whole of the bitcoin "value" is based on speculation and tulip "farms". If you could get a court ordered "price" for your coins then you can expect a lot of "abandoned" coins to come out of the woodwork. It's time to put bitcoin to sleep, and save the planet by stopping all the electric usage coming from it.

  • by ToTheStars ( 4807725 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @06:47PM (#56191015)
    "'My name is Craig; I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Satoshi, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Dread Pirate Satoshi either. His name was Ulbricht. The real Satoshi has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Second Life.' Then he explained the name is the important thing to inspire the necessary fear. You see, no one would ever surrender to the Dread Pirate Craig."
    • If you live your life like a king in Second Life, pizza rolls are all you need in meatspace to sustain yourself. Oh, and some electricity and a net connection....

  • Is there a mistake in the title, or are we doing the same annoying thing with bitcoins that we do with legos? I'm going to assume that it's a mistake, since the summary says "bitcoins" in multiple places.
  • you will find a lawyer earning a fee by trying to get some of it ...

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @07:42PM (#56191283) Journal
    I wonder if there is a way to authenticate documents and calculate some kind of hash that makes it impossible to back date ....
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is such an absurd lawsuit. I would throw all these idiots in jail for wasting the court's time with this garbage. We have abusive parents, violent offenders of all kinds, traffickers, etc. Why do we even waste our time with this nonsense? Allow these bitcoins to be lost to the ether and move along. This just goes to show you that cryptocurrency is nothing more than smoke in mirrors. For example, if you had the cure for cancer written in a text document, and it was worth say $1 trillion dollars to the m

  • Ponzi scheme (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 )

    Just because they used valid mathematics in the design doesn't mean it wasn't a Ponzi scheme all along.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      No, a Ponzi scheme has to pay out dividends or similar to give an illusion of profits, while you hold. Bitcoin doesn't even make any fake profits.
      Its a pure speculative bubble, but unlike tulips does not claim to have any intrinsic value.
      That is the brilliant part! It resembles a scam, but nobody can say they've been lied to. And for now, it is legal.

      • pay out dividends or similar to give an illusion of profits

        Haven't you heard the spiel from the recently converted to the cult of bitcoin?
        1. Buy BTC
        2. Profit

        I suspect the speculative bubble was created intentionally. And that some people set themselves up by holding enormous amounts in a hidden and semi-anonymous way. The only thing this plan depended on was people willing to buy lots of bitcoin on the speculation that it would be the exchange medium of the future.

        I couldn't care less about the legality of it. Just because something skirts around loopholes in curre

        • by quenda ( 644621 )

          Technically that is speculative gains. Any actual profit is made by miners and exchanges.
          Profit is what makes returns to investors real and sustainable.

          It is a lot like gold, minus the track record and traditions which give gold utility, even if most of it is locked in vaults.

  • https://www.theverge.com/2018/... [theverge.com]

    Anonymous reliable and trustworthy real soon now right, just need the right kind of faith?

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @09:17PM (#56191695)
    Is he suing for $10 billion in bitcoin, or $10 billion in real money?
  • If a million bitcoins were transferred, then wouldn't that show up in the block chain?
    If they weren't transferred, then doesn't he still have them?
    Can the estate digitally sign something that at least proves original ownership?

    What exactly is he claiming was taken?

  • Neither Wright nor Kleiman owned any of the bitcoins claimed in the lawsuit:
    http://blog.wizsec.jp/2018/02/kleiman-v-craig-wright-bitcoins.html

  • I am shocked, shocked that the creator of a fake pyramid scheme currency would defraud his brother.

    {your bitcoin winnings sir}

    Thank you.

  • Apparently wright forged his business partner's signature by using a known handwritten font (named OTTO)... and it looks nothing like the real signature.

    I'm repeatedly surprised how clearly intelligent people become stupid criminals.

"It ain't over until it's over." -- Casey Stengel

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