NEW YORK — The family of a dead programmer has filed a $5 billion dollar lawsuit against a man who claimed to be the creator of bitcoin.
The family of Dave Kleiman filed their lawsuit in federal court in Florida against Australian businessman Craig Wright, who claimed in 2016 he was Satoshi Nakamoto.
Kleiman's family alleges that the two men jointly owned roughly 1.1 million bitcoins and a company. When Kleiman died in 2013, Wright allegedly backdated contracts to transfer the ownership of the coins and intellectual property to him.
Wright claimed in 2016 that he was the inventor of bitcoin, but stepped back from that claim after skepticism arose on whether he was the actual inventor of bitcoin.
The lawsuit does not claim that Kleiman or Wright are the actual inventors of bitcoin, but instead alleges that the two were heavily involved with bitcoin in its infancy. Early adopters of bitcoin were able to acquire large quantities of bitcoin through a process known as mining long before its value ever got above a dollar. For example, an extremely early transaction made on the bitcoin network was when someone paid 10,000 bitcoins for Domino's Pizza.
Kleiman's family claims they are owed at least half of the bitcoins mined by the two men. The estimated value of Wright and Kleiman's bitcoin holdings is roughly $11.6 billion.
Wright did not immediately respond to a request for comment through his company nChain.