An Australian man who claims to be bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto has been ordered to pay the estate of his former colleague half of his cryptocurrency holdings purported to be worth up to $5 billion.

Craig Wright Ordered To Pay Estate Of Former Colleague

A U.S. district court in Florida on Tuesday ruled that computer engineer Craig Wright must pay the estate of his former colleague David Kleiman, who died in 2013, for a share of his bitcoin haul.

Kleiman's estate sued Wright alleging that the two were partners, so Kleiman's family is entitled to a share of the bitcoin that the pair mined between 2009 and 2013. Kleiman's estate sued Wright alleging that the two were partners, so Kleiman's family is entitled to a share of the bitcoin that the pair mined between 2009 and 2013 and their reported investment in the bitcoin era app

"It is unclear whether Craig, Dave, and/or both created bitcoin," the lawsuit claimed. "It is undeniable, however, that Craig and Dave were involved in bitcoin from its inception, and that they both accumulated a vast wealth of bitcoins from 2009 through 2013."

Kleiman's estate sought for the value of the bitcoins that the pair supposedly mined and the intellectual property owned by W&K Info Defense Research, the company the duo founded. The value of the assets was estimated to exceed $5,118,266,427.50 in 2018, when the lawsuit was filed.

Wright denied there was a partnership but Judge Bruce Reinhart ruled that half of the bitcoin the two mined between 2009 and 2013 and half of the intellectual property belongs to Kleiman.

No Access To Bitcoin

Wright told the court that he could not access the bitcoins because he does not have a list of the public addresses of that bitcoin. He said that in 2011, he placed the bitcoin he mined in the early days of the cryptocurrency into an encrypted file and into a blind trust.

He said the encrypted key was divided into multiple key slices, which were given to Kleiman, who in turn distributed them to people through the trust.

This means that Wright could not decrypt the file until he has access to the key from a bonded courier who will arrive in January 2020.

Reinhart, however, said that Wright was not able to prove he could not comply and obtain the bitcoin. The judge also has qualms about the veracity of Wright's statements.

"During his testimony, Dr. Wright's demeanor did not impress me as someone who was telling the truth," Reinhart said.

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