Craig Wright Wins U.S. Appeal in Billion-Dollar Bitcoin Dispute

A Florida jury was right to say the self-proclaimed inventor of cryptocurrency wasn't in partnership with David Kleiman when they mined bitcoin together, an appeals court ruled.

AccessTimeIconOct 27, 2023 at 10:26 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, on Thursday won a U.S. Appeals Court case concerning billions of dollars in disputed cryptocurrency.

Wright, who has said he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the author of the white paper that proposed the blockchain-based currency, wasn't in a legal partnership with the late David Kleiman when they apparently mined bitcoin together over a decade ago, judges on the Eleventh Circuit said.

The Kleiman estate, now represented by David's brother Ira, "has not shown that the court relied on an erroneous legal standard or made a clear error of judgment" when it struck down sanctions that were imposed on Wright for having, in the lower-tier District Court's words, "wilfully obstructed" the legal process, Appeal Court judges said.

The ruling upholds a decision taken by a Florida jury in 2021 as to whether the Kleiman estate had a right to half of the mined bitcoin, purportedly worth billions. Wright's lawyers shouldn't have probed the Kleimans' fraternal relations, but that didn't significantly impair the jury's deliberations, judges said.

The appeal did not cover the $100 million Wright was previously ordered to pay to W&K Info Defense Research, a company Kleiman founded, on which a separate dispute is ongoing.

Wright has sued a group of crypto developers in the U.K. for refusing to build a backdoor mechanism in a bitcoin-based software that would enable his company, Tulip Trading, to regain control of crypto it claims to have lost access to.

In a 2022 ruling, Norwegian judge Helen Engebrigtsen ruled it had been fair to describe Wright as a “fraud” and “scammer” for his claim to be Nakamoto, in a decision that has since been appealed.

Counsel for the parties did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.