Bitcoin: Man who claimed to be cryptocurrency's inventor accused of stealing $5bn

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright facing allegations he forged documents and signatures to defraud former colleague Dave Kleiman, who passed away in 2013

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 27 February 2018 15:57 GMT
Craig Wright
Craig Wright (AP)

A man claiming to be bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, whose identity remains one of tech culture's great unknowns, has been accused of stealing $5bn (£3.59bn) of the cyptocurrency from his late business partner.

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright, 47, is accused of using bogus contracts and false signatures to lay claim to bitcoins mined by Dave Kleiman, a computer security expert, according to a lawsuit filed by the latter's brother.

Kleiman died in 2013 and his family argues they still own the rights to the bitcoins and blockchain technology he held, according to Bloomberg.

"Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him,’’ the Kleiman family's lawyer said in a complaint filed in West Palm Beach, Florida, on 14 February.

"Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them."

Wright and Kleiman had formed a cybersecurity business together, W&K Info Defense Research, in 2011 and held as many as 1.1m bitcoins at the time of Kleiman's death - at least 300,000 of which were the deceased's, according to his family.

Wright's claim to be behind Satoshi Nakamoto dates from a blog post in 2016, in which he claimed Nakamoto was a collective - rather than the pseudonym of one individual - and that he spearheaded the project.

He has since declined to offer any further evidence to substantiate the claim.

We’ve teamed up with cryptocurrency trading platform eToro. Click here to get the latest Bitcoin rates and start trading. Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile unregulated investment product. No EU investor protection. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in