Did an Aussie invent Bitcoin? The $86 billion question facing a US court

Will the world ever know the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto?

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Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) is back in the green today, up 1.6% over the past 24 hours to US$61,092 (AU$81,456).

Despite the bounce, Bitcoin remains down 3% over the past week and down 9% from its 20 October all-time high of US$66,930, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

That’s the recent price action.

But the US$65 billion question – or some 1.1 million Bitcoin – crypto enthusiasts are hoping may arise out of a case now before US courts is: who really invented the world’s first, and still largest, cryptocurrency?

Will the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up

You’ve probably heard of Satoshi Nakamoto. That’s the pseudonym of the person, or group of people, who wrote the original whitepaper on Bitcoin back in 2008 and launched the token in 2009.

Amazingly, 13 years on and the world still doesn’t have confirmation on who Nakamoto really is.

Not that some people haven’t made the claim.

Among them, Aussie computer boffin, Craig Wright.

Wright came out a few years ago saying he is the brains behind Bitcoin’s creation.

While some support his assertion, there are certainly plenty of doubters.

Crypto investor Aaron Brown, who writes for Bloomberg Opinion, said that Wright is indeed “an important early innovator in cryptocurrency, and is also rich from cryptocurrency… Beyond that, his claims to be the main or only author of the original Bitcoin whitepaper have little support.”

Wright has maintained his assertion of being the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

Now, a federal court trial underway in Miami, in the US state of Florida, may help shed some light on Wright’s claims.

What’s the Bitcoin court case about?

The court case was initiated 3 years ago but delayed by the onset of the pandemic.

Now, as Bloomberg reports, Craig Wright will “defend himself against claims that he swindled the estate of a deceased Florida man of its share of some $65 billion of the peer-to-peer currency and intellectual property related to blockchain technology worth billions of dollars more”.

The trial intended to determine whether there was a legal business partnership between Wright and Dave Kleiman, who died in 2013.

Kleinman’s brother is pressing the Kleiman estate complaint against Wright, saying Dave and Craig worked together on the early stages of Bitcoin’s development. The estate claims it should receive half the 1.1 million Bitcoin which are thought to be in the virtual hands of Nakamoto.

Whether Wright will reveal more evidence backing his claim to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto during the hearings remains to be seen.

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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