Craig Wright, the chief scientist of blockchain startup nChain who once claimed to be bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, has filed a motion in U.S. federal court to dismiss a billion-dollar lawsuit filed against him.
As previously reported, Wright is being sued by Ira Kleiman, filed the lawsuit in February on behalf of the estate of his brother, the late Dave Kleiman. Dave Kleiman, an author and forensic computer investigator, was previously linked to the development of bitcoin in its earliest days, and later died in 2013 following a battle with MRSA.
Ira Kleiman accused Wright of scheming to “seize Dave’s bitcoins and his rights to certain intellectual property associated with the Bitcoin technology,” and is seeking the roughly 1.1 million bitcoins (worth roughly $8.8 billion as of press time) or its “fair market value,” as well as compensation for the IP claims.
In a court filing dated April 16, Wright – who is being represented in the suit by Miami law firm Rivero Mestre LLP – moved to dismiss the complaint. In the motion, Weight argued that Ira Kleiman’s claims are without merit and that the plaintiff lacks any standing to file suit, calling the effort an “attempted shakedown” based on “a thin soup of supposition, speculation, conflicting allegations, hearsay and innuendo.”
Kleiman, Wright claimed, knew nothing of his late brother’s activities related to bitcoin until after he had passed away. At that point, Wright claimed, he himself told Ira that his brother “might have left a legacy in the form of bitcoins and codes on hard drives held by the estate,” according to the motion to dismiss.
“No good deed goes unpunished,” it adds.
Wright went on to claim that, when Ira Kleiman was unable to access his brother’s bitcoin holdings, he “trained his sights on Dr. Wright’s bitcoins” and “mined Australian tabloids for the raw materials needed to cook up his stew of contradictory, absurd, and legally insufficient allegations.” Wright does not control the private keys needed to access those funds, the motion goes on to assert.
He also argued that the court lacks jurisdiction over Wright for the alleged activities, noting that an Australian court has already heard the matter and that its decision cannot be considered invalid as the plaintiff argues.
Wright was first identified as bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator in 2015 by several news outlets, sparking a wave of controversy that continues to this day. The bitcoin community was largely skeptical regarding the claims, with some alleging that the proof offered is fraudulent. Wright ultimately declared that he would offer no additional proof to back the Satoshi claim.