Craig Wright, the Australian entrepreneur who claimed to be Bitcoin’s inventor, is now facing a $10 billion lawsuit over the digital currency’s creation.
The lawsuit comes from the estate of a former business partner, David Kleiman, who may have owned over a million bitcoins, but died in 2013 of illness. Following his death, Wright schemed his way into stealing it all away, the lawsuit claims.
The legal action is the latest twist over the identity of Bitcoin’s creator. In 2016, Wright publicly identified himself as the inventor, after years of ongoing speculation. However, critics were quick to cast doubt over his claims, citing a lack of proof.
Wright himself later backed away from the spotlight. He declined to offer any additional evidence, and apologized for the whole incident.
However, the new lawsuit contends that Wright did indeed invent Bitcoin, but with the help of Kleiman, who was an IT security expert. Starting in 2008, the two began working on making the digital currency operational. They then went on to mine over a million bitcoin, which was held through a Florida company Kleiman had registered in 2011.
However, when Kleiman died two years later, Wright successfully gained sole ownership of the company. He did so by lying to Kleiman’s brother and falsifying documents and contracts that gave him control over the wallet that stored the bitcoin.
Kleiman’s estate is now demanding Wright hand over their share of the bitcoins. The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 14 in a Florida district court. As evidence, Kleiman’s brother, Ira, has offered up emails that Wright allegedly sent him regarding the bitcoin stash.
So far, Wright hasn’t publicly commented on the lawsuit. He is currently serving as chief scientist at nChain, a developer of blockchain technologies.