Craig Wright's crypto wallet claim against Bitcoin SV devs back before judges
Another of the self-proclaimed BTC inventor's lawsuits rumbles onward
A company owned by the man who claims to have invented Bitcoin is suing the developers of a fork of Bitcoin. Although the case was dismissed once already, it is being reopened, and a UK court will hear the Seychelles company's version of events next month.
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has decided that the case of Tulip Trading against the developers of Bitcoin SV should be reopened. Tulip is suing 15 people and one Swiss nonprofit, Bitcoin Association, the developers behind Bitcoin SV, a fork of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Tulip is headed up by Australian doctor of theology Craig Wright (it is unrelated to another litigious company with a similar name, extinct Dutch vendor Tulip Computers).
Bitcoin SV, short for "Bitcoin Satoshi Vision," was forked from Bitcoin Cash in November 2018. Bitcoin Cash in turn was forked from Bitcoin in 2017. As long ago as 2015, we reported that Wright owned an Australian company called Tulip Trading.
As the Appeals Court puts it:
Tulip Trading Limited, a company associated with Dr Craig Wright, claims to be the owner of some bitcoin with a very high total value (the value in $ expressed in April 2021 was about $4 billion). The bitcoin is held at two addresses on the blockchain called 1Feex and 12ib7.
However the private keys have been lost in a hack, likely stolen. Without its private keys Tulip cannot access its assets or move them to safety. However, Tulip contends, the developers named as defendants in this case control and run the four relevant bitcoin networks, and it would be a simple matter for them to secure Tulip's assets, e.g. by moving them to another address which Tulip can control.
Tulip contends that the role the developers have undertaken in relation to Tulip's property (the bitcoin) and the power this role gives them, and all the circumstances (discussed below), mean that the developers should be recognised as a new ad hoc class of fiduciary, owing fiduciary duties to the true owners of bitcoin cryptocurrency, including in this case Tulip as true owner of the bitcoin at 1Feex and 12ib7.
The developers deny they owe fiduciary or any other duties to Tulip. They contend that they have "nothing like the power or control Tulip alleges and that duties of the kind Tulip contend for would be highly onerous and unworkable."
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The justices said they would allow the appeal, but cautioned that "the conclusion is not that there is a fiduciary duty in law in the circumstances alleged by Tulip, only that the case advanced raises a serious issue to be tried."
Back in 2016, Wright claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous programmer who invented Bitcoin. This claim is controversial, and Wright has previously sued people who have rubbished it, although he lost that case in 2020. Lawsuits over Wright's claim to be Satoshi were still ongoing in January last year.
In 2019, Wright was instructed by a Florida court to hand over Bitcoin then valued at approximately $5 billion. As we reported in January 2022, Wright said that he was hacked and lost access to two wallets containing the money, and was suing the developers of Bitcoin SV for them to change the code to give him access to two wallets: one with 449 coins and another with 155.
We note that Bitcoin SV is currently valued at some $40. Thus, BSV604 might be sold for as much as approximately US $25,500. Whoever Satoshi Nakamoto really is, they mined about 5 percent of all Bitcoin, and hold somewhere between 750,000 and 1.1 million BTC. Even though the value of Bitcoin has been dropping sharply for some years, currently that holding is valued at $17 billion to $24 billion. ®