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Court: Self-proclaimed Bitcoin inventor to pay $43 million for illegally seizing intellectual property

Court: Self-proclaimed Bitcoin inventor to pay $43 million for illegally seizing intellectual property

A federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, decided on Wednesday, March 9, that self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) founder Craig Wright must pay $43 million to a joint venture he co-founded.

According to a ruling issued [PDF] by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, Wright must pay an additional $43 million to a joint venture he co-created, on top of the $100 million judgment against him last year.

In December, a jury determined that Wright had illegally taken intellectual property belonging to the joint venture with late computer forensics specialist Dave Kleiman, W&K Info Defense Research. 

According to the court’s final decision, the extra $43 million in interest on damages sustained by W&K from the time he seized possession of the IP in 2013 until the court’s final verdict.

For his part, Wright claimed that W&K should be entitled to interest solely for the period from October 2021 through December 2021, when the IP’s value was at its peak.

A historical precedent in crypto and blockchain

W&K’s lawyers stated in a statement that the ruling, like the verdict, “sets a historical precedent in cryptocurrency and blockchain.” 

In 2018, Kleiman’s brother filed a lawsuit against Wright on his brother’s behalf, saying that Wright had stolen intellectual property relating to blockchain technology from W&K, as well as 1.1 million Bitcoin.

According to court documents, Satoshi Nakamoto, who published a white paper defining the architecture for what would become bitcoin, was the one who mined the cryptocurrency. Wright has claimed that he is Nakamoto, a claim that has been challenged. 

However, the jury found Wright not to be liable for any other charges, including theft and fraud and determined that W&K and Kleiman were not entitled to any of the disputed bitcoin. 

In the case, Kleiman claimed that the assets were worth more than $11 billion. The 1.1 million Bitcoins would be worth $43 billion if they were mined today.

Notably, last year, Craig Wright had first launched a lawsuit against 16 Bitcoin developers in a bid to retrieve Bitcoin worth $5.7 billion at the time. While it was In 2016, the controversial figure also alleged he was the inventor of the Bitcoin whitepaper under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

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