If jurors remain divided, the court battle between Australian Craig Wright and the estate of David Kleiman over legal rights to tens of billions of dollars in Bitcoin (BTC) mined by Satoshi Nakamoto might result in a mistrial.
Wright says he created Bitcoin under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. The dispute started in 2018 when the estate of his colleague Kleiman sued him, alleging that the two were partners who developed and mined Bitcoin together.
The jury was deadlocked around 5 p.m. UTC on Wednesday, with the following statement: “Unfortunately we cannot come to a conclusion and we cannot all agree on a verdict on any of the questions.”
As per court reporter Carolina Bolada of Law360, as of 10 p.m. UTC, the jury was still deadlocked and reconvene on Thursday.
Judge Beth Bloom issued an Allen Charge, requiring the jury to debate until a decision is reached. “I suggest that you now carefully reexamine and reconsider all the evidence in light of the court’s instructions on the law,” she stated.
Nevertheless, if the jury cannot reach a decision, the judge may declare a mistrial.
The case has a lot riding on it. Both sides claim Wright is Satoshi, but they disagree about who owns the 1.1 million bitcoins produced at the moment. That 1.1 million BTC is now worth $62,568,836,000.
Ira Kleiman, David’s brother, testified in court on behalf of the estate, claiming that Wright had broken an oral agreement with David to mine Bitcoin and develop its technology jointly.
Wright maintains that there was no such collaboration and that Kleiman did nothing more than review the Bitcoin white paper since he was not a programmer and could not troubleshoot the Bitcoin code.