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I own that $4.5bn of digi-dosh so rewrite your blockchain and give it to me, Craig Wright tells Bitcoin SV devs
Oh look, another High Court sueball over cryptocurrencies
A man who claims he's the creator of Bitcoin says his private keys to £14m of Bitcoin SV were deleted by hackers in 2020 – and now he's suing developers to forcibly give him access to internet coins he "owns but cannot access."
Craig Wright (yes, him again) is suing 15 people and one Swiss company in the hope of forcing them to "re-write or amend the underlying software code" so Wright can get his hands on a large amount of Bitcoin SV.*
The High Court of England and Wales recently ordered Wright to pay the court security for costs in case he loses, with the resulting judgment shedding light on yet more English litigation involving Wright and Bitcoin.
Master Clark, the procedural judge, summarised the main case as follows:
The claimant claims to be the owner of about $4.5bn worth of digital assets ("the Bitcoin"), which were accessed and controlled by Dr Wright from his computer and network in England. In order to do so, Dr Wright used secure "private keys." These private keys were deleted (presumably after having been copied) by hackers who accessed Dr Wright's computer in February 2020.
Wright claims the defendants "owe fiduciary and tortious duties" to "re-write or amend the underlying software code to enable [Tulip Trading] to access the Bitcoin." It appears the judge may have confused Bitcoin (as in BTC, the original) with Bitcoin SV ("Bitcoin Satoshi Vision", a fork of a fork from the original Bitcoin.
Continuing his run of bad luck, Wright's Tulip Trading** Ltd lost its bid to avoid having to pay security for costs. This is a legal procedure where if a judge believes a claimant might not have assets inside the jurisdiction that can be used to pay the other side's legal costs if they win, the claimant has to pay a substantial sum to the court, which passes it to the defendants at the end of the case or returns it accordingly. If the claimant doesn't pay, the case is halted.
The 15 defendants include Bitcoin vlogger Roger Ver, Swiss company Bitcoin Association for BSV, and a list of other cryptocurrency enthusiasts, all of whom Wright says are developers involved in Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash ABC, whatever that is.
They've all refused Wright's demands, though a firm called nChain Ltd is "said to be working on a modification to the existing BSV client software, which would enable someone who owns but cannot access the BSV to regain control of them."
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Wright claims he is the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, and has spawned a global litigation-themed pantomime in his wake as various people say, "oh no you're not," Wright says, "oh yes I am," and lawyers around the world bank fat fees from all the arguing. Last month, he had to pay £70m in Intellectual Property rights after technically winning a court case against the estate of a deceased business partner. Wright had told a Miami jury that he and David Kleiman co-created Bitcoin (BTC) through a professional partnership called W&K Info Defense Research.
Back in 2016 Wright made posts on his blog that were roundly ridiculed by people after his "proofs" at the time turned out to be nonsense. ®
*1 Bitcoin SV is currently worth £81 according to a graph generated by Coinmarketcap, a website owned by UK-banned cryptocurrency speculation business Binance.
**Keen students of history will note that one of the earliest stock market crashes was when the Dutch tulip bubble occurred in the 1630s. An investment website explains the link: "The Bitcoin market is frequently compared with tulipmania, in that both prompted highly speculative prices for a product with little clear utility.
"Bitcoin prices tend to crash after significant gains, exhibiting many signs of a classic bubble."
We have no information on whether Wright knowingly called his Seychellois company Tulip Trading as a nod to this, though maybe the man just likes colourful flowers.