Expert Witnesses Called in Craig Wright Contempt Hearing

Neil Dennis

Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto accused of defrauding his late business partner out of crypto assets and intellectual property, has called three expert witnesses to testify at court hearing later on Friday, June 28.

Wright is appearing before a Florida court for a contempt hearing after he failed to comply with an order instructing him to list his Bitcoin holdings prior to December 31, 2013. 

The order was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by Ira Kleiman, whose brother David was Wright's business partner and who has accused Wright of defrauding his brother out more than a million bitcoins following his death in April 2013.

Three Witnesses Called

Wright filed notice of his intention to call three witnesses: 

  • Brett Roberson - to testify as an expert regarding digital forensics and PGP (pretty good privacy) signatures
  • Kevin Madura - to testify as an expert in cryptography, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain
  • Steve Shadders - chief technology officer at Wright's company nChain to testify as a fact witness

Also named on the document was Wright himself who will be testifying as a fact witness. All are expected to give evidence as to why Wright was unable to comply with the court order to provide data on his Bitcoin holdings.

Tulip Trusts

Key the examination is likely to be the so-called Tulip Trusts. It is believed that the bulk of the bitcoins - more than 1.1 million - stockpiled by Wright and David Kleiman between 2009 and 2013 were held in two funds - the Tulip Trusts.

Seven trustees of the funds, of which Wright and Kleiman were two, each had their own encrypted keys and - according to a document that came to light in December 2015 - was "managed by at least three people but not more than seven at any time".

Ira Kleiman filed notice of his intention to call his own expert witness to Friday's hearing. Dr Matthew J Edman will give evidence on applied cryptography, digital forensics, cryptocurrencies and Shamir's Secret Sharing Scheme - which will likely examine how the Tulip Trusts could be accessed.

If found guilty of contempt at the hearing, Wright could face a hefty fine. There were no details of when the Kleiman vs Wright hearing is set to begin, and much could depend on Friday's hearing.