Guest Blog | Estate Battle to Prove Bitcoin Inventor

Amanda Hamilton, CEO of National Association of Licensed Paralegals
Amanda Hamilton

This is a Guest Blog from Finders International, the award-winning probate researchers. You can find out more about their services at


Estate Battle to Prove Bitcoin Inventor

A court in Florida is to try and determine the inventor of bitcoin, according to a story in Money International this week.

The ‘inventor’ of bitcoin is thought to be Satoshi Nakamoto—the name of the person on the paper which first introduced bitcoin (the first crypto-currency) to the world in 2009 when it was released as open source software. Satoshi Nakamoto is thought to be a name for a group of people—the person has never come forward.

Craig Wright has argued that bitcoin was his invention but has not been able to prove his credentials. The estate of software developer and friend of Wright, David Kleiman, claims Wright has tried to make his fortune in bitcoin and intellectual property—which rightfully belongs to Kleiman’s estate. 


Digital money

Bitcoin is a form of digital money that uses encryption to secure transactions. It also controls the creation of new units. The original aim was to invent a currency that wasn’t controlled by governments or businesses allowing people to trade globally at no cost, and without having to reveal their identity. It has spawned many copycats often referred to as ‘altcoins’.

Kleiman died in 2013. His estate says Wright and Kleiman developed bitcoin together. They mined the first 1.1 million tokens (the process that creates bitcoins) and this was worth £10 million when Kleiman died in 2013.

Kleiman’s estate says Wright forged Kleiman’s signature so he could make the ownership of the bitcoin hoard his.


Inventory handed over

The court has ordered him to hand over an inventory of the bitcoin he mined between 2009 and 2013. The inventory has been handed over to the judge but in a sealed document. Mediation has been offered as a way of resolving the case but the court heard that no agreement could be reached.

It is still not known whether Wright and Kleiman hid behind the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Kleiman’s estate said it isn’t clear whether Wright and/or Kleiman created bitcoin or why they didn’t tell most of their families and friends about their invention. What was clear, however, was that they’d both been involved in bitcoin from the start and have accumulated a vast fortune. But the signatures on the bitcoin documents appeared to be vastly different from known examples of Kleiman’s electronic and written signatures.


International assets? Finders International can help sell, transfer or recover a range of overseas assets assisting estates with the necessary administrative and legal paperwork, bringing assets back into the estate. Contact us on +44(0)20 7490 4935 if you’d like to discuss this service.

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Amanda Hamilton, CEO of National Association of Licensed Paralegals
Amanda Hamilton

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