Despite the massive verdict, Wright and his attorneys celebrated the $100m penalty as a victory.
Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist who claims to have created Bitcoin, must pay $100 million in damages over claims that he cheated a deceased friend out of intellectual property rights for the cryptocurrency.
According to Bloomberg, a federal jury deliberated for a week to reach the verdict.
While the jurors did order Wright to pay $100 million in damages, they nonetheless dismissed most of the claims against him.
And the settlement, says Bloomberg, is not likely to settle the debate as to whether White is, in fact, the creator of Bitcoin.
The cryptocurrency’s founder—known only by the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”—is estimated to own a cache of roughly 1.1 million Bitcoins.
Today, 1 Bitcoin is worth about $50,000.
Markets Insider notes that the lawsuit was filed by the brother of late computer security expert Dave Kleiman.
Kleiman, says the lawsuit, worked with Wright to create a “mine” Bitcoin in its early years. Intriguingly, the complaint suggests that Satoshi wasn’t just one person, but a pseudonym held by both Wright and Kleiman.
However, the Kleiman estate claims that Wright illegally deprived their late relative of his rights to Bitcoin.
“Many years ago, Craig Wright told the Kleiman family that he and Dave Kleiman developed revolutionary Bitcoin based intellectual property,” said David Freedman, an attorney for the Kleiman estate. “Despite those admissions, Wright refused to give the Kleimans their fair share of what Dave helped create.”
Since Kleiman passed away in 2013, his estate says it is entitled to half of Satoshi’s Bitcoin cache.
However, the jury declined to award damages for most of the claims against Wright.
Instead, it found Wright liable for conversion—the illegal seizure of property—and awarded $100 million in damages to W&K Info Defense Research LLC, the company that Wright and Kleiman allegedly worked created together.
Wright, however, maintains that he never had a professional relationship with Kleiman.
Despite the $100 million penalty, Wright and his attorneys have celebrated the outcome as a total win.
“The plaintiffs were claiming $600 billion plus punitives,” Wright attorney Andres Rivero said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. “This is one of the most resounding victories ever in American litigation. We crushed them. Their result is less than any settlement offer we ever made to them. This is a total loss for the other side.”
According to Markets Insider, Wright has also celebrated the verdict for another reason: it bolsters his claim that he is, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto, and thereby—potentially—among the richest men in the world.
However, many people still doubt Wright’s claims, as he has yet to provide definitive evidence that he is Nakamoto.