Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, on Thursday won a U.S. Appeals Court case concerning billions of dollars in disputed cryptocurrency.
Wright, who has said he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the author of the white paper that proposed the blockchain-based currency, wasn't in a legal partnership with the late David Kleiman when they apparently mined bitcoin together over a decade ago, judges on the Eleventh Circuit said.
The Kleiman estate, now represented by David's brother Ira, "has not shown that the court relied on an erroneous legal standard or made a clear error of judgment" when it struck down sanctions that were imposed on Wright for having, in the lower-tier District Court's words, "wilfully obstructed" the legal process, Appeal Court judges said.
The ruling upholds a decision taken by a Florida jury in 2021 as to whether the Kleiman estate had a right to half of the mined bitcoin, purportedly worth billions. Wright's lawyers shouldn't have probed the Kleimans' fraternal relations, but that didn't significantly impair the jury's deliberations, judges said.
The appeal did not cover the $100 million Wright was previously ordered to pay to W&K Info Defense Research, a company Kleiman founded, on which a separate dispute is ongoing.
Wright has sued a group of crypto developers in the U.K. for refusing to build a backdoor mechanism in a bitcoin-based software that would enable his company, Tulip Trading, to regain control of crypto it claims to have lost access to.
In a 2022 ruling, Norwegian judge Helen Engebrigtsen ruled it had been fair to describe Wright as a “fraud” and “scammer” for his claim to be Nakamoto, in a decision that has since been appealed.
Counsel for the parties did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Edited by Sheldon Reback.