Australian man files lawsuit for $US5.7 billion in bitcoin, claims he is creator 'Satoshi Nakamoto'

Craig Wright.
Craig Wright. Photo credit: Getty Images,

An Australian computer scientist who claims he created bitcoin has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to secure billions of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency.

Craig Wright, who lives in Britain, launched the lawsuit in the London High Court against 16 software developers, Reuters reported.

He has been claiming since 2016 he created the technology behind bitcoin under the pseudonym 'Satoshi Nakamoto' and lost the encrypted keys for his bitcoin when his computer network was hacked in early 2020.

Now Wright is demanding the developers allow him to retrieve about 111,000 bitcoin worth US$5.7 billion (almost NZ$8 billion).

"Our client has always maintained that he created bitcoin to operate within existing laws and that in the event of loss or theft, where legitimate ownership can be proven, the developers have a duty to ensure recovery," said Paul Ferguson, a partner at law firm Ontier, which is representing Wright.

However, the case has been slammed as "bogus" by one defendant.

Defendant Bitcoin core developer and software engineer Peter Todd said Wright had not proven his ownership and that bitcoin should not be subject to "arbitrary seizure".

"As this very case shows, if we allow people to get coins seized and reassigned by court order, that puts your coins at risk of being stolen by abuses of those fallible processes," he told Reuters.