South Florida attorneys observing an $11 billion lawsuit over digital currency have their doubts about whether the defendant Craig Wright is the man he claims to be: Satoshi Nakamoto, the enigmatic creator of bitcoin, the best known and most valuable cryptocurrency.
“The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is one of the greatest mysteries of the digital age; his identity is our modern day D.B. Cooper story,” said Devin “Velvel” Freedman, counsel in Boies, Schiller & Flexner’s Miami office.
Freedman and attorney Kyle Roche are suing Wright on behalf of plaintiff Ira Kleiman, whose brother David Kleiman allegedly mined billions of dollars worth of bitcoin with Wright.
Freedman and Roche say discovery in this case will vet Wright’s claim as well as allegations that the Australian businessman committed forgery by filing false court documents that falsified Kleiman’s signature in order to gain control of he and Kleiman’s company, W&K Info Defense Research and its intellectual property.
Nakamoto’s real identity has been the subject of debate and speculation since his publication of the digital currency’s manifesto in 2009.
South Florida litigant Wright publicly claimed to be Nakamoto by using technical demonstrations as well as a blog post shared with media outlets including the BBC, The Economist and GQ. This followed years of speculation and ill-fated stories seeking to conclusively unmask the elusive Nakamoto. Other than the original bitcoin proclamation bearing his name and the subsequent speculation over his identity, next to nothing is known about the bitcoin creator.
Justin S. Wales, senior counsel at the Miami office of Carlton Fields, would need more proof before accepting Wright’s claim.
“He’s had some people who are very influential in the bitcoin community say that Wright could be Satoshi,” Wales said. “He put forth some proof — although not the best type of proof — but not enough that anyone in the community believed that that was [definitive] proof of Wright being involved as Satoshi.”
David C. Silver, a South Florida litigator involved in class action lawsuits over cryptocurrency, said many traders of digital currency are skeptical about Wright’s claim.
“He’s claimed publicly to be Nakamoto, but when called to task he couldn’t produce the evidence,” said Silver, a founding partner at Silver Miller. “But that doesn’t make it any less real. … He’s been involved with bitcoin for a long time. … So even if he’s not patient zero, he’s certainly patient one or two.”
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