On Tuesday a law firm representing Wright, Ontier LLP, sent a “Letter Before Action” to Bitcoin Core contributors, demanding access to two wallets — containing 31,000 BTC and 79,957 BTC — claiming Wright lost the private keys to the addresses during a hack on his computer last year. In its letter, Ontier LLP claims the developers have a legal duty “under English law” to provide access and control of these addresses to Wright’s Tulip Trading Ltd. (TTL), and take all “reasonable steps to ensure that TTL has access to and control of the BTC in the Addresses”.
The legal firm further said the letter was addressed to “those in a position to remedy” Wright’s loss, even though those same Bitcoin Core contributors have no control over the network’s wallets. In fact, in order for the “request” to be completed the contributors will have to either reorganize Bitcoins history with a 51% attack — which is impossible — or fork the blockchain.
While we cannot be sure, it is unlikely that either of these options will be executed. There is also something peculiar about one of the wallets Wright claims ownership of, it is connected to the 800,000 BTC hack on Mt. Gox exchange. This has resulted in an unusual situation, where Wright is not the one to take legal actions, but receive threats of a legal action against him.
After claiming ownership of the BTC contained in the 1Feex address — which received funds stolen from Mt. Gox — Wright was presented with a legal notice from a law firm representing Danny Brewster, a victim of the Mt. Gox exchange hack. In the letter, the law firm argues that Brewster has an “equitable interest in the Bitcoin held at the 1Feex address”. The letter reads:
“You and your clients Tulip Trust Limited and Craig Steven Wright, and their agents, are hereby placed on notice that our client and many others similarly situated have an equitable interest in the Bitcoin held at 1Feex address in an amount not less than, and likely exceeding, $17,500,000. Your client owes our client, and likely others, a legal and equitable duty to hold any funds received by your client on either the BTC main chain or any fork of the Bitcoin chain.”
It is likely that Brewster’s legal charges are a way to force Wright to admit he had never owned the 1Feex address. The letter states that if Wright formally confirms he had no control over the address at any point in time by 1 March, then the two parties could “avoid any unnecessary litigation”.
Wright has been trying to prove he is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, for years now, even though he is yet to present hard evidence in his favor.