A federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday (March 9) ruled that self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) founder Craig Wright was to pay $43 million to a joint venture he co-founded.
District Judge Beth Bloom’s ruling [PDF] says Wright must pay an additional $43 million to a joint venture he co-created, on top of a $100 million judgment against him last year . In December, a jury ruled that Wright had unlawfully stolen intellectual property belonging to the joint venture with the late computer forensics specialist Dave Kleiman, W&K Info Defense Research. According to the court’s final decision, additional interest of $43 million on damages incurred by W&K from the time it took possession of the intellectual property in 2013 until the court’s final verdict.
For his part, Wright said W&K should have been entitled to interest exclusively for the period from October 2021 to December 2021, when the value of the intellectual property was at its peak.
Historic Precedent in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Lawyers for W&K said in a statement that the decision, like the verdict, “sets historic precedent in cryptocurrency and blockchain.” In 2018, Kleiman’s brother filed a lawsuit against Wright on his brother’s behalf, claiming Wright stole blockchain-related intellectual property from W&K, along with 1.1 million Bitcoin.
According to court documents, it was Satoshi Nakamoto, who published a white paper outlining the architecture of what would become bitcoin, who mined the cryptocurrency. Wright claimed to be Nakamoto, a claim which has been disputed. However, the jury found that Wright was not liable for other charges, including theft and fraud, and ruled that W&K and Kleiman were not entitled to any of the disputed bitcoins.
In the case, Kleiman claimed the assets were worth more than $11 billion. The 1.1 million bitcoins would be worth $43 billion if mined today. Notably, last year Craig Wright first filed a lawsuit against 16 Bitcoin developers seeking to recover $5.7 billion worth of Bitcoin at the time. While it was 2016, the controversial figure also claimed to have been the inventor of the Bitcoin white paper under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.