Craig Wright must turn over half of his bitcoin holdings and intellectual property to the estate of Dave Kleiman, a judge ruled Monday. The ruling applies to holdings and IP from before 2014.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart recommended that plaintiffs be awarded 50 percent of the bitcoin that Wright held prior to Dec. 31, 2013, as well as 50 percent of the intellectual property that Wright owned prior to Dec. 31, 2013, according to an individual familiar with the case.
Wright will also not be entitled to a jury trial and cannot oppose the order though he can appeal, the source said.
The case began in 2018, when Kleiman – the brother of Wright’s late business partner Dave Kleiman – sued for $10 billion, alleging that Wright was trying to seize Dave’s bitcoin holdings.
Kleiman was represented by Kyle Roche and Velvel Freedman of Roche Freedman LLP, while Wright was represented by Rivero Mestre LLP.
The case is not over yet. There are still procedural issues, including collection, that need to be hammered out. However, the substantive issues have been decided and this points to an end of a potentially lengthy trial.
According to the source, while Judge Reinhart did not find Wright to be credible, he did not make a finding on whether or not Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s creator.
Reinhart’s order will have to be adopted by the District Judge, Beth Bloom, before becoming final. This also assumes that Wright’s attorneys do not file any exceptions or objections.
Craig Wright image via CoinDesk archives