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Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto could be unmasked at Florida trial
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A seemingly run-of-the-mill trial is playing out in Florida: The family of a deceased man is suing his former business partner over control of their partnership’s assets.
In this case, the assets in question are a cache of about one million bitcoins, equivalent to around $64 billion today, belonging to bitcoin’s creator, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The family of the dead man says he and his business partner together were Nakamoto, and thus the family is entitled to half of the fortune.
Who Satoshi Nakamoto is has been one of the financial world’s enduring mysteries. Does the name refer to one person? Or several? And why has he or she or they not touched a penny of that fortune?
The answers to those questions are at the center of the Florida dispute and of bitcoin itself. Bitcoin has become a trillion-dollar market, with tens of millions of investors. It has challenged governments trying to regulate it and has been endorsed by some. The technology behind it is seen by some as a way to rewire the global financial system. Yet, who created it and why has remained a mystery.
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And that is all before you get to who controls one of the largest private fortunes in the world.
That is what a Florida jury will try to tackle. The family of David Kleiman is suing his former business partner, a 51-year-old Australian programmer living in London named Craig Wright. Mr. Wright has been arguing since 2016 that he created bitcoin, a claim dismissed by most in the bitcoin community. Mr. Kleiman’s family argues that the two worked on and mined bitcoin together, entitling Mr. Kleiman’s family to half a million bitcoins.
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