Man claiming to be Bitcoin founder nabs £53 billion fortune in court case

After years of speculation, we may finally know the true identity of the mysterious creator(s) of Bitcoin, thanks to a huge US legal tiff.

An Australian computer scientist claiming to be the inventor of Bitcoin has won a court case in which the family of a dead business partner sued him for 1.1 million Bitcoin (around £53 billion).

Dr Craig Wright has claimed to be Bitcoin's shadowy creator since 2016, which would put him in control of a Bitcoin fortune that has been untouched since the cryptocurrency's early days.

However, the bereaved relatives of his friend David Kleiman claimed that Wright didn't do it alone, and that the cryptocurrency was invented by both Kleiman and Wright⁠.

They argued this entitled them to a 50% cut of the alleged fortune as well as intellectual property rights.

While Kleiman's estate were awarded $100 million in intellectual property rights, they were not granted the Bitcoin in question.

Dr Wright repeatedly denied that Kleiman had worked on Bitcoin with him, saying that while the two were friends and had collaborated in the past, their work had not covered the cryptocurrency.

The court case strengthens Dr Wright's longstanding claims that he is behind Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of the shadowy Bitcoin creator who created the first Bitcoin database.

After years of people demanding proof, Dr Wright said throughout the trial that he would prove his ownership if he won the case by donating the bulk of the Bitcoin fortune to charity.

The jury in the case took over a week to deliberate largely because of how confusing cryptocurrency is. Jurors had to sit through hours of explanations about how Bitcoin works and reportedly told the judge at one point that they were deadlocked.

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How is Bitcoin made?

Bitcoin is created through 'mining'. This is where powerful computers solve complex sums with a 64-digit answer.

These sums become more difficult and require stronger computers as each new Bitcoin is created, which is why 'mining' Bitcoin now consumes so much electricity.

Once a problem has been solved, the 'miner' is given a new Bitcoin.

This is added to something called the blockchain, a public record of every Bitcoin transaction there is.

Only 21 million Bitcoin can ever be created, and we're currently about 16 million of the way there.

People are able to make money from Bitcoin by either mining it and selling it, or by buying the crypto then selling it at a higher value later on.

It's really important to remember that the value of Bitcoin is extremely volatile, and can rise and drop in value very unpredictably. While many people have made money on Bitcoin, some have lost thousands.

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