Craig Wright, the controversial entrepreneur who claims he created Bitcoin under a pseudonym, must defend a lawsuit claiming he stole cryptocurrency. File image: IOL.
INTERNATIONAL - Craig Wright, the controversial entrepreneur who claims he created Bitcoin under a pseudonym, must defend a lawsuit claiming he stole cryptocurrency and intellectual property worth billions from a late business partner, a judge said.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom ruled Thursday that the federal court in Florida has jurisdiction over the case. The judge didn’t address the merits of the claims.


The case has captivated those in the cryptocurrency community, in part because of Wright’s claims that he invented Bitcoin a decade ago under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright’s prior efforts to prove he developed the computer software has been greeted with skepticism. 

The addresses credited to Satoshi Nakamoto own about $10 billion of the coins. Bitcoin SV, an offshoot that Wright supports, has a market capitalization of about $2.4 billion, and its value could be impacted by the findings in this case as well.

In a complaint filed last year, the estate of Wright’s former partner, Dave Kleiman, claimed Wright stole "hundreds of thousands" of Bitcoin and intellectual property from when they worked together. Kleiman and Wright used to be business partners, according to the estate’s lawsuit. Kleiman died in April 2013. Wright has denied the allegations.

BLOOMBERG