back to article Bloke who claimed he invented Bitcoin must hand over $5bn of e-dosh in court case. He can't. He's waiting for a time traveler to arrive

The man who claims to have invented Bitcoin has been ordered by a Florida court to hand over half of his stash of the cyber-money, worth an estimated $5bn, to the estate of his dead business partner. There’s only one problem: Craig Wright claims that he isn’t able to do so because he doesn’t have access to it. Instead, he told …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Because, Wright claims, they were worried that the cryptocurrency was increasingly being used for criminal means.

    Interesting defense of the charges against him. And the courier is very creative. This is playing out like bad fiction novel but it is entertaining to watch.

    1. Len

      I don't think I understand. What benefit is the courier story to him? It just buys a few months so the judge could order him to pay the money before 1 February 2020 and he'd still be stuck.

      1. John Gamble

        If anyone had bought the story, it would have delayed the outcome a few months (as you noted), and given him time to come up with some other excuse, scheme, or trip to a non-extradition country.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What benefit is the courier story to him?

        well, he can claim the courier's been delayed. But they're sending another one to rescue the first one. Definitely. Next time.

        1. Dave 32

          Re: What benefit is the courier story to him?

          Uh, is this courier arriving from Nigeria? Does he need $400 in delivery fees?

    2. macjules Silver badge

      I would have thought that they would simply say to Dr Wright, "Jail until end of January 2020 when you will be required to attend this court with the provided key".

      1. Cris E

        The great thing about time travelers is that they can only go to specific points in time, say January, and not whenever they want, like this week to keep him out of jail. Apparently.

    3. MyffyW Silver badge
      Coat

      The Play-Within-the-Play

      I presume "The Courier's Tragedy" can now be expected to play out in advance of January 2020.

      [grabs coat, muted horn optional]

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Wright has not proved he can’t get the Bitcoins"

    I'm not sure how one can prove not to be able to do something but the idea that such proof is possible fits in very nicely with the rest of the case.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Doctor Syntax is living up to his name. Doctor Wright is not.

    2. theblackhand Silver badge

      Setting: a classroom in the future

      Lecturer: and while the purpose of bitcoin was never entirely certain - it was supposedly a currency but was predominantly used by fraudsters to steal money from others - it did provide the basis for the proof of uncertainty, showing that what was previously unprovable could be proved simply by adding bitcoin. This was then the precursor to the infinite improbability drive and interplanetary travel...

      While this is completely made up (I know...surprise), I'll not sure it is any less believable than reality...

      1. Cederic Bronze badge

        Are you really trying to claim that blockchain can't enable time travel?

        You're never going to make it as a consultant.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          ....You will need a a fresh cup of really hot tea

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "it was supposedly a currency but was predominantly used by fraudsters to steal money from others"

        This does actually raise a valid and pertinent point. Does anyone actually *use* Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency), or is it just miners sitting on their stash waiting interminably for the "strike price" to reach the magic number and extortionists trying out new ways to stay hidden?

        1. jgarbo
          Mushroom

          Well, there are BTC ATMs in many countries, You can buy stuff with BTC. And New Zealand, though not yet a nuclear hegemon, will allow salaries to be paid BTC. So I guess you could say BTC is usable.

          https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/new-zealand-legalizes-cryptocurrency-salaries-including-bitcoin-2019-8-1028442320

  3. <script>alert('the register');</script>

    Hope Kleiman's family don't try cashing them all out at once. Otherwise they will be worth fuck all.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      In that case, I wish they would. Or wish they actually had any at all, and that they would try to sell them all at once.

    2. Blank Reg

      Well their true value is pretty much zero. It's not like there are many (legal) places where you can spend bitcoin. The best you can hope for is that there an even greater fool who is willing to buy your bitcoins with real money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's enough places that do take bitcoin (eg) that one can cash out small amounts without much trouble.

        Fortunately for me, as buying a single bitcoin when they were only worth double figures has provided for almost ten years of computer upgrades for me. Each time I'm left with a fraction of a bitcoin, worth a couple of quid, but in a year or two that's back up to a few hundred quid which equates to a new graphics card or motherboard etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dunno about that. Pal at the office has been spending BTC for the last few years refurbishing his house.

        He has all new sparkly kitchen/lounge appliances and other furniture he has bought from high street stores.

        You exchange them for vouchers, granted he went into Argos with about £5k worth of vouchers.

        You can spend them all you want, you have to look.

      3. KungFuDazza

        Scan and Overclockers both accept Bitcoin AFAIK. Overclockers also give you Haribo so this is an excellent use of bitcoin.

  4. ZenCoder
    Trollface

    "Dear Sir, SEEKING YOUR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE. Please permit me to make your acquaintance in so informal a manner. This is necessitated by my urgent need to reach a dependable and trust wordy foreign partner. This request may seem strange and unsolicited but I will crave your indulgence and pray that you view it seriously. My name is. CRAIG WRIGHT ..."

  5. PhilipN Silver badge

    Perjury

    Not perjury if he sincerely believes it is true.

    But I’ve tried it on my wife and it didn’t work. Especially the “sincerely” part.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Perjury

      Ah, the George Costanza defense...

  6. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    Who is more crazy?

    The one claiming there is time travel, or the one thinking this guy actually ever had 14 billion worth of bitcoin?

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Who is more crazy?

      There's no time travel involved, just paying a courier to deliver a document at a set date in the future.

      It didn't happen, but it's not time travel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who is more crazy?

        And the courier (being a reputable company) provided a receipt presumably? And since it still has the said package in storage, the sender could simply ask for it to be delivered early - or the courier could be compelled to hand it over by a court order?

        No, didn't think so.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Who is more crazy?

          I don't believe the guy but to play devils advocate he could have destroyed the receipt and it could be a foreign courier.

      2. MOH

        Re: Who is more crazy?

        Well, technically it is, but just at the usual rate of one second per second

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Who is more crazy?

        "It didn't happen, but it's not time travel."

        I think you might mean it didn't not happen yet. It's due to happen next January, so you can't just say it didn't happen in the past about a future event yet to occur.

  7. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    What proof do they have he did not cash it in in 2013 or 2014 at, say, $150 per bitcoin ?

    1. Armus Squelprom

      Reading the judgement, it seems the burden of proof is upon Wright now, to some extent. His repeated and serious dishonesty has led to the court rightly making presumptive findings against him. If he further refuses to provide meaningful and proper compliance to court orders, then he's at some risk of jail time for contempt.

      Ultimately, the court is likely to order that Wright owes half of the 1,200,111 Btc which were transferred in his supposed "dog ate my homework" trust (p21 judgement) to Kleiman's estate. Then it becomes a simple(r) matter of enforcement.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      "What proof do they have he did not cash it in in 2013 or 2014 at, say, $150 per bitcoin ?"

      That could make things even worse for him. He is supposed to have in his possession assets worth* several billion, but half of it is owned by the estate of a now deceased person. If it turns out he flogged it all for a fraction of the price at some point, said estate still owns a few billion of assets, but now those assets have been stolen. It would change him from someone being an arse about handing over goods to the person who owns them, to someone who has stolen a pile of goods and now has no possibility of repaying the value stolen. If I steal your Ferrari and the court demands I give it back, I can't just claim I sold it for scrap and offer you a couple of hundred quid.

      * For certain definitions of the word at least.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Yeah...

        No one is. Claiming it as a defense... just as a much more realistic account than "time traveller stole them gov".

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      The way a blockchain works is that it's a ledger of every single transaction. So it's a matter of public record that most of the bitcoins that were first mined have never been transferred.

      They are assumed to have been mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, who ever that person (or persons) is/are.

      (more info)

  8. Tomislav

    Not much left then...

    I am sure someone will get that password, one way or another. :)

    Obligatory XKCD

    https://xkcd.com/538/

    1. Cris E

      Re: Not much left then...

      "Wait, one sec..."

      <tries B1tC0inGod!!1!">

      "Nevermind, got it."

  9. Gobhicks

    Horcrux

    That is all.

  10. Clive Galway

    "January 2020" seems surprisingly accurate for a courier...

    I would have thought they couldn't give you an exact month, it would be an all-year window

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: "January 2020" seems surprisingly accurate for a courier...

      "I waited in all year and they didn't even knock on the door. I saw them just drive past my house".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "January 2020" seems surprisingly accurate for a courier...

        Tracking is great. The other day I loaded ul the tracking website to see that second they were at my door. The knock was at the moment I stood up to go ooen ot for them.

        Years ago I have missed a courier "9am to 9pm" delivery slot because I had to drip off a letter in person at 9, and got home at 9:05 (I live close to the post office) because they turned up exactly at 9am. So I'm very thankful for the new tracking and estimation services.

    2. Bitsminer

      Re: "January 2020" seems surprisingly accurate for a courier...

      Nope. He just mailed it via Canada Post. January 2020 is an optimistic estimate.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the bitcoins are still on the blockchain ?

    There's a scam waiting to happen ....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What proof do they have he did not cash it in in 2159?

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Is it just me, or is there something odd about using something invented by a fictitious character? Maybe he came from the future.

  14. Harry Stottle

    Negative Proved: Craig Wright<>Satoshi Nakamoto

    Not that any of us believed his claims in the first place; not least as a result of his continuing failure to present the promised digital proof.

    It is, however, usually difficult to prove a negative. But this, I would argue, nails it:

    "But an expert took a look at the email and concluded from the email’s digital signature that it has been sent in early 2014."

    Whatever other criticisms you may aim at Bitcoin, its real author clearly and fully understood the issues around immutablity and the digital proof of data integrity. No one with that level of comprehension could possibly have imagined that they'd get away with forging an email in 2014, which relied on a timestamped digital signature.

    Ergo, this charlatan can not be that still anonymous author.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Negative Proved: Craig Wright<>Satoshi Nakamoto

      Or: He's pretending to be a moron so he can keep all elveventy billion dollars for himself.

    2. batfink Bronze badge

      Re: Negative Proved: Craig Wright<>Satoshi Nakamoto

      Not necessarily true. In keeping with Mr Wright's claims, Klieman probably travelled forward in time to write the email.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $5bn

    If he has to hand half of his partners bitcoins over at $5bn value but can't due to keys - what's stopping him using any of his own known keys to get at the other $5bn. Somehow don't believe he actually has $10bn and is a bit of a Walter Mitty

    Failing any bitcoins - just seize his other assets.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: $5bn

      I'm not entirely sure (and as this is all probably bollocks anyway it doesn't matter), but Wright claims that they split the keys to the wallet into multiple parts, so that it would require multiple people all agreeing to decrypt the wallet. He claims to have seven keys, and that he would need at least eight to unlock the money (how handy eh?). He says that his dead partner had the rest, and that a key (or several?) will be delivered to him by a courier in Jan 2020, giving him enough keys to do the decryption.

      Or maybe, just maybe, he's talking out of his arse.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: $5bn

        Or maybe, just maybe, he's talking out of his arse.

        I think you could have dropped the maybes there. And the Or. And the just.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: $5bn

        Wright claims that they split the keys to the wallet into multiple parts, so that it would require multiple people all agreeing to decrypt the wallet. He claims to have seven keys, and that he would need at least eight to unlock the money (how handy eh?). He says that his dead partner had the rest, and that a key (or several?) will be delivered to him by a courier in Jan 2020

        There's a movie in that - something fantasy along the lines of Krull without the love interest, so maybe not a good one.

    2. Cris E

      Re: $5bn

      What if, and I'm just spit balling here, but hear me out: what if he doesn't have assets worth $5bn?

  16. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Bollocks

    I wish judges actually spoke like that. Court would be a lot more enjoyable.

    1. Not also known as SC
      Happy

      Re: Bollocks

      I thought this was a direct quote.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time

    Its possible that Craig Wright is actually a time traveler. I suggest that maybe BTc itself is actually a plot to delay the Singularity in order to make money from ransomware, because of course as soon as the former occurs all the locked files will mysteriously unlock themselves and thus unmask the "fake" ransomware that actually just deletes or overwrites the files with gibberish.

    This will also result in an instant 50% attack on BTc causing everyone's assets to become worthless, and render Brexit a historical footnote along with 8 track tape and the Morris worm as it turns out that the correct agreement was encoded in the original, with the decryption key hidden in the blockchain.

    Incidentally the above is either not true or true simultaneously, until the wavefunction collapses.

    :-)

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: Time

      Thank you for making me double check you weren't amanfrommars1 .

      You aren't, are you?

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Time

        Thank you for making me double check you weren't amanfrommars1 .

        You aren't, are you?

        Could be his sane personality. But, since he doesn't post that often could be they only let him near a computer at the secure facility when he's been on his best behaviour.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          RE. Re: Time

          Uh, no.

          Incidentally the identity of John Titor is still disputed. The latest "theory" is that he may have in fact been a secret CIA experiment to test social media links: evidently it worked.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Time

      Craig Wright is John Titor, and I claim my 5 BTC!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Titor

    3. MOH

      Re: Time

      In that case the Basilisk is going to be reallllly unhappy with him

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Time

      ts possible that Craig Wright is actually a time traveler.

      My Physics teacher told me that we are all time travellers.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Time

        And he's correct, everyone and everything is travelling in time. Admittedly only forwards in time, and at a fixed rate, but we are travelling in time.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Time

          "And he's correct, everyone and everything is travelling in time. Admittedly only forwards in time, and at a fixed rate, but we are travelling in time."

          That may well be true, from your puny human perspective....

          1. Alien8n Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Time

            Who are you calling human?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time

        Indeed, we are. I have in my possession a time machine that will seemingly instantly transfer me 8 hours into the future. I keep it in my bedroom. You can experience some interesting effects if you share the time machine with someone of the opposite sex, or indeed the same sex, if you're into that. This requires a good deal of empirical study.

  18. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    A criminal enterprise.

    Straight from the horses mouth and in a court of law. How come a non-asset backed security is allowed to be traded on a financial market. #cashisonlycurrencyintown

  19. RainCaster

    A time traveler can find him in prison

    Let that clown stay locked up until he releases the funds. Maybe he got the date wrong, and the courier will arrive in 2220.

  20. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "You do have to wonder though: isn’t $5bn enough?"

    You're new to Capitalism, aren't you?

  21. asciilifeform

    This is exactly how, in past centuries, over-enthusiastic "alchemists" met their end in the torture chambers. "So, we gave you barrel of lead; now say, where's that gold?"

  22. mix

    I believe him

    Not about the Satoshi part, that's obviously rubbish. But I do believe that he and his partner shared keys and planned giving them to each other in the event of one or the other's death. I believe he was telling this story long before the court case even happened. It could be that the courier is tied to his partner's estate and legally binding but you'd think there'd be some documentation to back it up.

    Either way, it's a great story to follow.

  23. Mr Sceptical
    Pirate

    Has no one seen SWAT???

    Even if they lock him up, how many people could he buy off with $5Bn!!! You could hire a pretty big army with that and an island to retire too as well.

    I think in SWAT the villan only offered a paltry $100 Meeelion or some other loose change.

    To be safe, better inject a slow release poison into him now and drop him in supermax until he hands over the dosh!

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