This is One Crazy Bitcoin Story
So here is a crazy story. Craig Wright, who once claimed to be Satoshi (he might be), is being sued by the brother of a man who also might be Satoshi for $10 Billion (representing 1.1 million Bitcoins).
CORRECTION: We said “1.1 million Bitcoin worth $10 billion” on this page. Other versions of the reporting on this have stated that the suit is for $5 billion or so worth of assets including Bitcoin and IP related to Bitcoin. I can clearly see that the suit says “This matter concerns the rightful ownership of hundreds of thousands of bitcoins and the valuable intellectual property rights of various blockchain technologies. As of the date of filing, the value of these assets far exceed $5,118,266,427.50 USD (before punitive or treble damages).” However, I am under the impression that this number represents the idea that the estate issuing the lawsuit is entitled to 1/2 of the assets, where 1.1 million Bitcoin and IP worth over $10 billion represents 100% of the assets plus damages. Interpret it however you wish. If I can get a very clear answer, I’ll pass it along. Until then, that is what I can glean from the suit itself and reporting by CoinDesk and CNBC. Anyway, the numbers aren’t what is important here (unless you are the Kleiman estate or Mr. Wright). What is important is the story below.
That is interesting on a few levels and, love him or hate him, a potential nightmare for Craig Wright.
Here are the essentials of the story.
- Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman potentially created Bitcoin (there is a chance both of them, or one of them, was/is Satoshi; also a chance that neither are of course). We can’t know who Satoshi is for sure, but we can confirm both men were at least very early adopters of Bitcoin and likely part of some of the same circles as Satoshi.
- The two formed a company in the early days of Bitcoin; that company accumulated Bitcoin between 2009 – 2013, and the total Bitcoin accumulated from that partnership is alleged to be 1.1 million Bitcoins by the lawsuit (1.1 million Bitcoin is about 1/16th of all existing Bitcoin).
- David died in 2013 (right before Bitcoin became mainstream) from an ongoing battle with MRSA.
- The suit alleges that after Kleiman died, Wright forged documents to get Kleiman’s share of the Bitcoin transferred to him. The suit alleges some other shady stuff too (read the suit yourself). The crux of the allegation is that Wright tried to avoid paying off the Kleiman estate.
That story is pretty intense. However, it isn’t what is interesting in my opinion. What is interesting is what you find when you Google “Dave Kleiman.”
You see, Craig Wright had claimed to be Satoshi in the past, but his personality did not seem to fit Satoshi’s. For example, comparing Craig’s Tweets to Statoshi’s Bitcointalk posts gives you the sense that something is off.
Meanwhile, Dave Kleiman is another matter. His personality is a little more like Satoshi’s (a guy who helped others and didn’t bother to cash out his share of Bitcoin before he died).
There is, let us just say, a serious rabbit hole to jump in here. For instance it invokes questions and thoughts like:
- Why did Craig and Dave pass 1.1 million Bitcoin back and forth so nonchalantly?
- Wait, Dave was a paralyzed Palm Beach County police officer turned encryption nerd who served in the military… and the company in question was called “W&K Info Defense Research LLC?” Strange backstory, kind of seems like a superhero meets spy novel backstory.
- Why was Dave was hospitalized right around the time Satoshi stopped posting on BitcoinTalk after he complained about WikiLeaks kicking the hornet’s nest? That is conspiracy theory fodder right there.
- Why did Dave die right as Bitcoin was about to take off? More conspiracy theory fodder.
In other words, as I said, digging into this story opens up a speculative rabbit hole. None of these points mean anything, they just are sort of odd things to come across.
It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out. I think that this site’s choice to stay away from both this lawsuit, and from the pin the tail on the Satoshi game as possible is sensible. But if you want to jump down the rabbit hole, you can read the old article on Dave Kleiman below, Google “Dave Kleiman,” or see the citations below.
Article: The Strange Life and Death of Dave Kleiman, A Computer Genius Linked to Bitcoin’s Origins from Gizmodo. See also this Reddit post, Dave Kleiman is Satoshi Nakamoto. I think this is a solid theory; it is at least an interesting one. See the citations for the article on the lawsuit.
- ‘Satoshi’ Craig Wright Is Being Sued for $10 Billion. Coindesk.com.
- Everything makes sense if David Kleiman was Satoshi Nakamoto. Here’s why. Seebitcoin.com.