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Man Claiming to be Bitcoin Founder Says He Can't Access Wallet That Would Prove Identity

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 1, 2019
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Craig Wright, the Australian tech financier who has filed suit to claim the mantle of "inventor of bitcoin," recently testified in a federal court hearing that he cannot access the digital wallet that, if opened, would prove his claims, according to Bloomberg.

Wright is claiming that he is the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, who is credited with writing the white paper that outlined how the digital currency would work. Right now, the pseudonymous Nakamoto, whoever he is, currently holds about $10 billion worth of bitcoin, which anyone can see, as the currency operates through a public ledger of all transactions. The wallet currently holds a status similar to the Sword in the Stone or the hammer of Thor, in that only the One True Nakamoto is capable of wielding it. The wallet could settle the whole question once and for all, but Wright previously said he wouldn't access it, and he now claims that he is unable to.

The financier's testimony came in a separate case, one in which he is defending himself against charges that he stole bitcoins and intellectual property worth billions from a late business partner, Dave Kleiman. Wright said that he handed off a key piece of information to Kleiman before Kleiman died in 2013. He noted that, without this information, the coins themselves would be difficult to track and, indeed, that he himself cannot access this storied stash. He said he was, however, untroubled by this situation, observing that he and his wife thought it would be too much money. 

Wright claimed that, at his request, Kleiman wiped clean from the public record the information that could have corroborated his claim. He said that, because bitcoin was increasingly being used for drugs and child pornography, he decided to stop working on it in 2010. “I brought in Dave because he was a friend and he knew who I was and he was a forensic expert, and I wanted to wipe everything I had to do with bitcoin from the public record,” he said at the hearing.

Kleiman's estate is claiming in the lawsuit that Wright forged a series of contracts to transfer assets and companies to himself. Wright has denied all allegations.

Even if not exactly an inventor, Wright could theoretically claim to be an early player in the bitcoin world, except that when asked by a federal judge to produce proof of his early holdings, he responded that this would be difficult to do since the holdings are held in a blind trust guarded by numerous trustees. 

Despite these obstacles, Wright has continued his legal battle to prove once and for all that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Bloomberg said, however, that his courtroom conduct, such as a penchant for making speeches in place of answering questions, has annoyed the judge.