Ira Kleiman has come under suspicion over emails presented to the court allegedly written by Wright to David Kleiman in 2008 but sent from an email domain that was not created until November 2011. The deceased’s accountant confirmed that he was never told anything about a legal partnership with Bitcoin – although Kleiman may not have viewed it as an asset given its relatively low value at the time.
The intertwining of potential wealth and the unraveling of a historical mystery has captivated many. Satoshi Nakamoto was the pseudonym that was posted on a cryptographic mailing list on November 1, 2008 to announce a new digital currency called “Bitcoin” that could be transmitted over the Internet, could not be counterfeited, and did not require banks.
Although Nakamoto claimed on an online profile that he was a 37-year-old male living in Japan, all the evidence suggests that this is not true. By examining every detail of Nakamoto’s postings, programming and writing, internet detectives have found answers to the question of “his” identity. But no one came up and said they were Nakamoto.
However, Craig Wright has insisted on multiple occasions that he is the author of the original 2008 paper; in June 2021, he won a copyright infringement case in the UK High Court. This notice now appears at the top of bitcoin.org, where the whitepaper was originally published. Oddly enough, however, Wright doesn’t own the domain – someone else who calls themselves “C0bra” does.
It would be fair to say that the Bitcoin community views the process with some disdain for both participants. Wright pissed them off by claiming to be “Nakamoto” and yet repeatedly refused to provide the desired evidence, which would involve a computer confirming a complex mathematical “signature” that only the real Satoshi could have .
“When someone like Wright declares himself Satoshi and then prosecutes copyrights and tries to sue volunteer developers for violating his or her rights [unestablished] Copyright, it would be useful to know whether or not your claims are legitimate, ”says CoinDesk’s Christie Harkin.
Ira Kleiman first filed a lawsuit against Wright in 2018, claiming the two “mined” thousands of bitcoins in 2009 and 2010, but when David died in 2013, Wright wrongly took possession of them. As the executor of his brother’s will, Ira Kleiman claims that he is only looking for what belongs to the estate. People are confused about how Kleiman financed his tireless pursuit, costing millions in the millions, given his relatively humble career, which includes stints as an affiliate marketer and web developer. This leads them to believe that someone more powerful is funding the lawsuit.
Kleiman has backed up his claim with emails apparently showing that his brother executed the computer code that “mined” at least a third of the Bitcoin inventory in question. He says they partnered with Wright to set up a company that generated bitcoins and transferred formal ownership.
Wright replied that the two were friends, but not business partners, and that the bitcoins stored in the “wallet” belong to him alone. Kleiman, according to the defense, is not good enough to play a significant role. In 1995 he was paraplegic in an accident.
There are two obvious questions. First, if Wright was Nakamoto alone, then why didn’t he originally post under his own name?
The most likely answer is that governments tend to look gloomy about individuals creating their own internationally tradable currencies. E-gold, a digital currency introduced in 1996, violated US law: in 2008 the three directors pleaded guilty to the “money laundering conspiracy”. Given this precedent, anyone announcing a digital currency later this year would be careful about using their real name. Wright, who is said to be fascinated by Japanese culture, claims the pseudonym was derived from the names of two Japanese philosophers.
The second question is, if Wright mined the bitcoins on his own, why not prove his possession? Moving just one of the coins would be an action that would be visible to the world, because every Bitcoin transaction is publicly recorded on the “blockchain”, a digital ledger where funds are located.