Craig Wright Admits to Stealing Millions in Bitcoin from Mt. Gox, Bitcoin Developers Claim
In an ongoing lawsuit filed by Craig Wright, self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, attorneys for the 12 Bitcoin Core developers targeted by Wright filed a preliminary issue application with the UK High Court. The filing purports to dismantle many of the plaintiff’s claims, the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund said in a statement on Monday.
Wright claims to own 111,000 Bitcoin that were allegedly stolen in February 2020 from the Mt Gox exchange. The defense notes that Wright lacks any documentation showing ownership of the missing Bitcoin, and accuse him of fabricating the limited documents provided to the court.
“[We] seek to have this claim struck out on the ground that it is a fraudulent claim and an abuse of process,” Timothy Elliss, an attorney with Enyo Law LLP, said in the filing. “They seek disclosure and other case management directions to enable this threshold issue of fraud to be determined as a preliminary issue.”
A preliminary issue application is a legal tool that aims to resolve specific issues before a trial by addressing key points and potentially saving time and money for those involved in the proceedings. The case is “Tulip Trading Limited v. Bitcoin Association For BSV & Others,” the former being Wright’s company—the name of which references the tulip mania that gripped the Netherlands in the 1630s.
“The application lists the evidence that Tulip Trading must present in a preliminary trial to demonstrate it owned the Bitcoins in question and also requests that Tulip Trading provide a security payment of $1.63 million to cover the cost of the case in the event that it is dismissed,” the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund said.
Attorneys for the Bitcoin Core developers argue that Wright and his company did not own the Bitcoin involved in the lawsuit. If the court sides with the Bitcoin Core developers, Tulip Trading Limited must prove its ownership of the digital assets before the case can continue.
Elliss further claims that if Wright is the owner, he is admitting to stealing 80,000 BTC—worth around $2 billion today.
“It is widely accepted in the cryptocurrency community that the Bitcoin in the 1Feex address originated from a well-publicized hack on a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that occurred in March 2014,” defense attorneys wrote. “Essentially, it appears that if Dr. Wright is the owner of the Bitcoin in the 1Feex address (which is denied), he has effectively admitted to being the person who stole 80,000 BTC from Mt. Gox.”
Founded in 2021 with support from former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization that supports Bitcoin developers in legal cases. In April, the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund supported the defense of the Bitcoin Core developers targeted in Wright’s lawsuit.
The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund, Bitcoin Association for BSV, and attorneys for Tulip Trading Limited have not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.