Bitcoin Developers Push Back Against Craig Wright’s Claim to Billions of Dollars in Bitcoin

The group alleged in a new legal filing that Wright's company Tulip Trading never owned the more than 100,000 bitcoin it sought to reclaim with their help.

AccessTimeIconAug 21, 2023 at 11:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 21, 2023 at 11:22 p.m. UTC

A group of bitcoin developers is fighting a lawsuit in the UK alleging they wrongfully refused to help Craig Wright’s crypto company retrieve billions of dollars worth of bitcoin that the company allegedly lost in a hack, a Monday court filing shows.

Lawyers for 12 developers told the UK High Court that the company, Tulip Trading, never owned the 111,000 bitcoin it is trying to claim. The company, the developers allege, has “fabricated” documents to prove ownership of the tokens and fraudulently gain control over the funds. The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund, an organization funded by Twitter (now X), Bluesky and Block (formerly Square) founder Jack Dorsey and others, shared the filing.

Tulip Trading “never owned the digital assets and has commenced this claim fraudulently and in reliance on fabricated documents, " the developers’ lawyers said in a statement. “Dr. Wright has a long history of fraud, forgery, and dishonesty … [and is using] the English courts as an instrument of fraud.”

There is no evidence that Wright or his company ever owned either wallet that held the bitcoin in question, they alleged.

The allegations come after Wright, who alleges he is bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, sued the developers in 2021 for refusing to build a backdoor mechanism in a bitcoin-based software that would enable Tulip Trading to seize control of the crypto it claims to have owned and lost. According to Wright's lawyers, the developers failed in their “fiduciary duty” by refusing to help Tulip Trading.

Craig Wright was not immediately available to respond to CoinDesk’s request for comment.

Wright has a long history of litigating disagreements. Last month, a U.K. court dismissed Wright's lawsuit alleging crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken infringed on his copyright by using the name “Bitcoin."

And, last year, Wright lost a preemptive lawsuit alleging he had lied about being Satoshi.

Currently, Wright is involved in at least three lawsuits in Oslo, Norway; London, U.K.; and Miami, U.S.


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Elizabeth Napolitano

Elizabeth Napolitano was a news reporter at CoinDesk.