Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of bitcoin, stands accused of swindling more than $5 billion worth of the cryptocurrency from the estate of a computer-security expert.
In 2016, Wright, an Australian, claimed that he created the cryptocurrency under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
The issues stem from Wright’s work with Dave Kleiman, a major cryptocurrency user when the cryptocurrency was just starting out.
In a lawsuit filed by Kleiman’s brother, the family argues that they own the rights to more than 1 million Bitcoins Kleiman mined during his lifetime, plus certain blockchain technologies.
The total value of his works would now equate to over $5 billion, they claim. The filing was made in a federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him,’’ lawyers for Kleiman’s family said in the complaint, reported Bloomberg News.
“Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them.’’
Wright lives in London and he could not be reached for comment. There was no attorney listed for Wright on the docket.
Wright and Kleiman formed a Florida-based company, W&K Info Defense Research LLC, to focus on cybersecurity.
Additionally, the two had worked earlier together on the development of Bitcoin and other mining operations.
The two had as many as 1.1 million Bitcoins when Kleiman died. Apparently, these coins were in trusts set up in Singapore, the Seychelles Islands and the United Kingdom.
Also in the filing, Kleiman’s brother claims that he may be the owner of 300,000 of those Bitcoins.
Meanwhile, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes he had several bitcoins stolen using a common technique.
In total, the bitcoins were reportedly worth $75,000.
That might not be a major concern for “Woz,” who’s net worth is currently $100 million, but it is a major concern for everyday traders of the cryptocurrency.
The coins were stolen through a credit card theft scheme, Wozniak said. “I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud,” he told CNET.
“Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they cancelled the credit card payment. It was that easy.”
Despite this news, Wozniak believes that Bitcoin has a great future, though its flaws need to be fixed soon.
“Bitcoin to me was a currency that was not manipulated by the governments. It is mathematical. It is pure. It can’t be altered,” said Wozniak.
While it can’t be altered, it can surely be stolen.
“I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud,” says Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. pic.twitter.com/X5aKqaPW1u
— CNBC (@CNBC) February 27, 2018
At the moment, Wozniak said he sold all of his other Bitcoins because he doesn’t want to check the price everyday.
It will be interesting to see what security adjustments are made after these big recent reports have come out.
Clearly, Bitcoin has tremendous potential and the endorsement of technological pioneers such as Wozniak, but there also are major problems that need to be fixed to avoid fraud.