Craig Wright, the self-professed creator of Bitcoin, is involved in a whole heap of lawsuits. It’s easy to forget he’s facing a multi-billion-dollar suit himself.
And the latest twist in the case of a former associate’s estate versus the man who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto will do little to dissuade the “Faketoshi” heckles from large swaths of the crypto community.
According to testimony provided by a cyber security expert in a Florida district court on Monday, Wright submitted an email into evidence in an effort to get his case dismissed that was, in fact, a forgery.
Wright is being sued by the estate of Dave Kleiman, a computer forensics expert who was involved in the early days of Bitcoin. The lawsuit alleges that Wright and Kleiman partnered up to form a Bitcoin mining company called W&K Info Defense Research LLC in 2011—which ended with Wright “defrauding” Kleiman of 1.1 million bitcoin, worth more than $10 billion when the suit was filed in February 2018.
Wright has attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the lawsuit dismissed on more than one occasion. The latest push involves an email submitted to the court earlier this month which Wright asserts invalidates Kleiman’s claim to W&K assets. The email purportedly demonstrates a 2012 exchange between Kleiman and Uyen Nguyen—one of Wright’s associates—in which Kleiman appoints Nguyen as director of the company. The email is intended to negate the Kleiman estate's assertion that he never ceded “sole membership” of the firm.
However, cyber security engineer Dr. Matthew Edman provided written testimony to the court on Monday that Wright’s email evidence is bogus. The email’s digital signature, says Edman, demonstrates that it was produced in early 2014—not 2012 as Wright claims.
The problem? Kleiman died in 2013.
Experience Web 3.0.
Be the first to get Decrypt Members. A new type of account built on blockchain.
The testimony provided by Edman—who is perhaps best known for aiding the FBI in its case against Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht—supports the Kleiman family’s allegation that Wright “concocted a scheme to claim sole ownership of all bitcoins owned by Dave, to steal Dave’s share of IP assets that belonged to Dave and Craig jointly through W&K.”
Wright's Florida attorney, Andres Rivero, could not be reached for comment.
The peculiarities of the email, including the fact that Kleiman would have misspelled his own name within it were the document authentic, were initially spotted by an eagle-eyed Redditor two weeks ago. While Wright withdrew the email as evidence just days later, Kleiman’s estate has pounced on the apparent blunder in an effort to quash Wright’s latest motion to dismiss.
“Without the fraudulent email, the entire motion falls,” attorneys for the Kleiman estate write in their latest filing.
The court has yet to rule one way or the other, but it seems that the high-stakes lawsuit will likely now press forward—and unfavorable judgement could open up a whole new can of worms for Wright.
It begs the question: If it’s true that Craig Wright is faking emails, what else is he faking?
Dr. Matthew J. Edman Testim... by on Scribd
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story somewhat lazily reported that Dr. Edman's testimony stated that Craig Wright "faked an email," and not that Wright submitted an email that was, in fact, a fake. A small yet not insignificant semantic difference. The author regrets nothing.