Dave Kleiman and Craig Wright are recognized within the cryptocurrency industry as the two most important people behind Bitcoin’s rise to prominence. They are, allegedly, the ones behind the widely famous and controversial “Satoshi Nakamoto” pseudonym.
The two were friends and collaborators. One of them, Wright, is alive and in the midst of a “hash war” between Bitcoin “Satoshi Version”, or SV, and Bitcoin ABC, the two new blockchains in which Bitcoin Cash (BCH) recently split. The other one, Kleiman, died in 2013, but his memory and contributions to the cryptography and computer forensics sciences live forever.
Dave Kleiman: the Genius of IT Security
Kleiman lived a colorful life that came to a bitter end due to a long, gruesome illness: MRSA. He was an army veteran, a cryptography and IT security expert with an obsession for computer forensics; he was very important to the creation of today’s most valuable digital asset: Bitcoin.
In the same vein, he was born in 1967 and was obsessed with computers and technology since he was very young. He had a stint in the US Army, specifically as a helicopter technician, which started in 1986 and ended when he was honorably discharged. After leaving the army, he was left paraplegic after a motorcycle accident in 1995.
Seeing himself in a wheelchair, his interest in computers increased, becoming quite the expert in secure network infrastructures. He often spoke in conferences and contributed to security newsletters and websites.
Additionally, he represented several computer security companies and organizations, among them are the International Association of Counter-Terrorism and Security Professionals (IACSP), International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA), Network and Systems Professionals Association (NaSPA), Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB), and ASIS International. He also represented the FBI InfraGard.
MRSA really gave Kleiman a hard time. He was admitted into a hospital in 2010, and from that point on, he was frequently entering and leaving medical facilities because of MRSA infected sores.
Approximately two weeks before his death, Kleiman’s attitude changed. All his life, he was generous, kind, and respectful, but at that time, he had become deeply unhappy, bitter, and often confrontational. In 2013, when he unexpectedly left his hospital, he called his close friend and business partner Patrick Paige to make him aware. “They have decided to release you, have they? That’s great,” Paige asked. “No,” Kleiman responded. “I told the doctors to go and fuck themselves.”
A few days later, precisely on April 26th, 2013, Dave Kleiman passed away in his home. The scene in which he was found was sad and grotesque: the smell was powerful, his body was decomposing, there were blood and fecal matter in his wheelchair and while there also was a loaded gun, no ammo cases were found. His death was ruled as a natural one, caused by heart failure due to the MRSA.
Craig Wright: A Life of Controversy, Computers, and a Game-changing Project
Meanwhile, Craig Steven Wright was born in October 1970, in Australia. He is a businessman and computer scientist and has anointed himself several times as one of the minds behind Bitcoin and the Satoshi Nakamoto nickname.
Wright forged a successful career in information technology, a field that saw him work with OzEmail, K-Mart, the Australian Securities Exchange, and Mahindra & Mahindra. He was also responsible for designing the architecture for what is possibly the world’s first online casino, Lasseter’s Online, in 1999.
Hotwire Preemptive Intelligence Group, a tech firm, had him as its CEO. He founded crypto company DeMorgan Ltd and Panopticrypt, a computer forensics enterprise. In the spring of 2016, Craig said he was Satoshi Nakamoto, a claim that has been proven, dismissed, and proved again in a tiresome give and take.
Dave and Craig knew each other for ten years, from 2003 at an online cryptography forum. They were heavily interested in cybersecurity, digital forensics, and the future of money, which were the right ingredients for creating what was to come: Bitcoin.
Bitcoin: A Revolutionary Adventure
After Wright claimed in private that he and Kleiman had been part of the team that invented Bitcoin, the world’s focus turned to the origin of Satoshi Nakamoto and the cryptocurrency. The question remains: if Kleiman was indeed a main character in its creation, why did not his banking account reflected it in some way?
At the time of his death, his home was in foreclosure, and there are more “comfortable” hospitals in Miami than the VA Medical Center. It seems like Kleiman was entitled to a significant amount of money, and in2013, Bitcoin was already successful.
If Kleiman did in fact had to do with Bitcoin’s creation, he did his work before his 2010 hospitalization, because the world’s leading crypto asset was in the works in 2008 and up and running since 2009. It all fits.
Actually, according to Gizmodo, Wright asked Kleiman for help in an email, months before the publication of Bitcoin’s whitepaper. “I need your help editing a paper I am going to release later this year. I have been working on a new form of electronic money. Bit cash, Bitcoin…” it reads. “You are always there for me Dave. I want you to be a part of it all.”
Gizmodo had access to documents, apparently an unfinished draft of a trust contract, in which Wright entrusted Kleiman with 1.1 million Bitcoins in 2011. The pact established that the funds were to be returned to Wright in the future, and Kleiman’s honorability may have been the most obvious reason behind his failure to access money that did not belong to him.
Five years after Dave’s death, his state started a lawsuit at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Wright, over the rights to $5,118,266,427.50 worth of BTC. The document states that Wright defrauded Kleiman of bitcoins and intellectual property rights.
Bitcoin may be battered today. After all, it has collapsed from $19,000 in January to all the way down to $3,435.86 today at last check. But make no mistake: Bitcoin is one of the truly great creations of the 21st century, and it still holds the potential to be, in every sense of the word, the future of money.
By Andres Chavez