Dave Kleiman’s Satoshi Nakamoto Association as Bitcoin’s Creator: What We Know So Far
Alleged Bitcoin Creator Dave Kleiman Had a Strange Life and Death: But Was he Really Satoshi Nakamoto?
American computer scientist Dave Kleiman is one of three men purported to have created bitcoin. It’s been suggested that Dave Kleiman is one of the figures behind the Satoshi Nakamoto identity.
Yes, there’s a chance Dave Kleiman created bitcoin. Despite that possibility, however, there’s surprisingly little information about Kleiman on the internet.
We first started hearing about Dave Kleiman back in December 2015, which is when Gizmodo published their infamous article “outing” Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Shortly after, Gizmodo published an article called, “The Strange Life and Death of Dave Kleiman, A Computer Genius Linked to Bitcoin’s Origins.”
In that article, Gizmodo provides a brief history of Dave Kleiman, including who he is, how he may have contributed to bitcoin, and how he tragically died. The article was the result of a month-long investigation into bitcoin’s origin story.
That article was published in 2015. To this day, that article is one of the few things we know about Dave Kleiman.
It explains how Kleiman was an army veteran who became a paraplegic after a tragic motorcycle accident, then became one of the world’s leading cybersecurity researchers.
It also explains how Kleiman died in squalor: despite allegedly owning hundreds of thousands of bitcoins, Kleiman died in a wheelchair in his own home surrounded by blood and feces with a loaded gun at his side.
In early 2018, searches for Dave Kleiman surged when it was revealed that Craig Wright was facing a $10 billion lawsuit from the state of Dave Kleiman. Craig Wright claimed he and Kleiman were business partners during the early days of bitcoin’s development. They were able to mine nearly one million bitcoins during this period. Those bitcoins are now disputed between Wright and Kleiman’s estate.
Was Dave Kleiman really Satoshi Nakamoto? What kind of role did Kleiman play in the development of bitcoin? Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about Dave Kleiman and his strange life and death.
Dave Kleiman’s Early Life
Kleiman was born in 1967. He was adopted by Louis and Regina Kleiman of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida sometime after his birth.
Regina Kleiman, Dave’s adopted mother, is decreased. Louis Kleiman, Dave’s adopted father, was reported to be 94 years old in 2015 and is apparently still alive today, in 2018, at the age 97.
As a child, Dave was reportedly interested in computers and technology. However, even to those close to him – like Kleiman’s best friend Patrick Paige interviewed in the Gizmodo piece – Kleiman’s early life was almost a total mystery.
In 1986, Kleiman enlisted in the United States Army as a helicopter technician. He returned home from the army in 1990 and began working for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office in the early 1990s.
This is where Kleiman met Patrick Paige. Paige was Kleiman’s training officer. Kleiman gave Paige his first computer – a DOS machine – sometime around this time. Kleiman also visited Paige at his home to help his daughter play computer games.
The pair would later found their own business called Computer Forensics, LLC, in 2012.
Kleiman obviously had a talent for computer forensics. He was so talented, in fact, that Paige was surprised he was working for a sheriff’s office and not the FBI, CIA, NSA, or another higher level organization.
“Why the fuck do you do this job, with the knowledge you have?” Paige asked Kleiman when they worked together, as reported by Gizmodo. During the early 1990s, computer security experts like Kleiman were in high demand, and he could have had a much larger paycheck than what the sheriff’s office was offering. In response, Kleiman claimed that he had always wanted to work in law enforcement.
A 1995 Motorcycle Accident Leaves Kleiman Paralyzed
In 1995, Kleiman suffered a tragic motorcycle accident. He was left physically handicapped and bound to a wheelchair. Kleiman was a paraplegic.
Instead of dissuading him, however, Kleiman’s disability just intensified his interest in computing. In fact, Kleiman didn’t seem to let his wheelchair slow him down whatsoever. Gizmodo obtained photos of a paralyzed Kleiman skydiving, for example.
Following the accident, Kleiman continued to work with the sheriff’s office in computer forensics before leaving to pursue similar work in the private sector.
Kleiman amassed an extensive range of qualifications while working in the private sector. His reputation as a specialist exploded.
Dave began to be known as “Dave Mississippi” at computer security conferences during this time because of the number of three-letter security designations after his name. The letters after his name started to sound like the way kids remember how to spell “Mississippi”
Kleiman also appeared on television during this time. CNN and ABC News brought him on, for example, to discuss computer security. He wrote books about creating the perfect password and protecting businesses against security threats.
Friends reported watching Kleiman type in 40 and 50-character passphrases to access his devices and files. Kleiman’s home wireless network was also famously locked down:
“Paige and [Carter] Conrad [the third partner in Computer Forensics, LLC] recall watching him type in 40- and 50-character passphrases to access his devices and files, and his home wireless network was so secure that Paige found it difficult to get work done while there. “Dude, I can’t load the page,” he said at his office this month, imitating his conversations with Kleiman. “I can’t run this script!”
Throughout the 2000s, Kleiman contributed to security mailing lists, including those maintained by securityfocuus.com and metzdowd.com. If those mailing lists sound familiar, then you likely remember them being associated with Satoshi Nakamoto: Nakamoto claims to have used metzdowd.com prior to launching the bitcoin network.
In 2010, MRSA Forced Kleiman To Spend Nearly His Entire Life In A Hospital
In 2010, a friend went to check on Dave Kleiman at his home. The friend found Kleiman in the shower: he had fallen and had not been able to get up.
Emergency personnel were called and Kleiman was taken to a nearby hospital. Doctors revealed that Kleiman’s sores had become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. That meant for the rest of Kleiman’s life, he would require near-constant medical treatment. From 2010 onward – around the time that Satoshi Nakamoto was stepping back from his online persona – Dave Kleiman would leave the hospital only briefly.
Despite the hospitalization, Kleiman continued working, as explained by Gizmodo:
“Kleiman would leave medical treatment centers only occasionally, usually to assist Conrad and Paige on a job. Otherwise, the pair would bring disks for examination on their regular visits to their friend, and he would plug away at them when he could. After surgeries, of which he had several, Kleiman was known to return to his computer immediately and begin working.”
2013 and Kleiman’s “Unabomber Period”
In 2013, Dave Kleiman left the Miami Veterans Affairs hospital. His friends expressed surprise: they thought he would be stuck in the hospital for life.
In response, however, Kleiman said that they hadn’t released him. Here’s how Gizmodo sums up the situation, as reported by Kleiman’s close friends:
“Around that time, Kleiman left the Veteran’s Affairs hospital where he’d been a patient, and called his close friend and business partner Patrick Paige to let him know. “They’ve decided to release you? That’s great,” Paige remembers asking.
“No,” Kleiman responded. “I told the doctors to go fuck themselves.”
Just a few weeks after leaving the hospital, Dave Kleiman was found dead in his home. Dave died on April 26, 2013.
Kleiman had a gruesome death. According to the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Office, Kleiman’s died in squalor:
“According to reports provided by the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Office, the scene of Kleiman’s death was gruesome. His body was decomposing, there were wheelchair tracks of blood and fecal matter, open bottles of alcohol, and a loaded handgun next to him.
A bullet hole in his mattress would seem to suggest suicide or foul play, but no ammunition casings were found, meaning he might have fired his gun and cleaned up sometime before dying. The official cause of death is listed as natural, and Conrad remembers hearing that the MRSA had stopped Kleiman’s heart.”
Kleiman never asked for money. However, he was allegedly experiencing financial troubles. The bank had foreclosed on his home, for example.
How did Kleiman experience financial problems if he was the owner of millions of bitcoins? That’s where things get confusing. Wright and Kleiman allegedly entered a contract securing bitcoins between the two. Neither could access the bitcoins without the other’s permission.
That could be the reason why Satoshi’s bitcoins have not yet been moved: they’re unable to be moved until the trust releases them – something that’s scheduled to take place in 2020.
Was Dave Kleiman Satoshi Nakamoto?
Dave Kleiman could have been Satoshi Nakamoto. He has links to Craig Wright. It’s unclear if Dave Kleiman and Craig Wright actually developed bitcoin, but there’s no doubt that both men were actively involved during the early days of bitcoin.
Even if neither Kleiman nor Wright built bitcoin, they were two of the first people involved with bitcoin, mining bitcoin, and sending bitcoin transactions.
Emails show that Craig Wright contacted Kleiman in the months leading up to the release of the bitcoin 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…You are always there for me Dave. I want you to be a part of it all.”
That email has now become famous as the court case between Wright and Kleiman’s estate rages on. Some claim the email is fabricated – part of an elaborate hoax by Craig Wright to claim he is Satoshi. Others claim it shows definitive proof that Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman created bitcoin.
Other evidence suggesting Kleiman was Satoshi Nakamoto – or at least closely linked to the project – include:
- Satoshi Nakamoto’s timestamps on his forum posts indicated that he rarely posted between 12am and 7am EST. That’s a normal sleep schedule for someone living in the eastern United States. Kleiman lived in Florida.
- When alive, Kleiman kept a heavy-duty USB drive on his person at all times, according to friends and relatives.
- Craig, who has publicly claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, also claims to have partnered with Dave “to create bitcoin, mine bitcoin, and create valuable IP”, according to court documents. The two allegedly met in an online cryptography forum in 2003, connected by a longtime interest in cybersecurity and digital forensics.
- Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman had worked together before allegedly creating bitcoin. The pair had co-authored papers, for example, including one 2007 paper on the mechanics of overwriting hard drive data.
- On January 12, 2009, Craig, Dave, and two others sent each other bitcoin transactions recorded on the blockchain. These were some of the first transactions on the bitcoin network.
- On Thanksgiving Day 2009, Dave Kleiman told his brother, Ira Kleiman, that “he was creating ‘digital money’ with a wealthy foreign man, i.e., Craig.” According to court documents.
- Friends report that Kleiman had a “compartmentalized” life where he kept different aspects of his life separate; friends have taken this to mean that it’s certainly possible for Kleiman to have contributed to a major project like bitcoin without anyone else knowing.
- “From their collaboration in 2008 until Dave’s death in 2013, Craig and Dave would go on to mine over a million of the initial bitcoins,” according to the same court documents.
Conclusion: Where Does This Leave Us?
There’s no doubt that Dave Kleiman had an interesting life and a bizarre death. If Craig is to be believed, then he and Dave Kleiman partnered to create bitcoin. Craig appears to downplay Kleiman’s role in the development of bitcoin, claiming he just created the whitepaper while Craig did most of the coding.
Without a doubt, Dave Kleiman and Craig Wright were both around during the early days of bitcoin. It’s certainly possible that both played the role of Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s also possible that neither developed bitcoin, and that they were just prominent miners and crypto enthusiasts.
Ultimately, the mystery of Dave Kleiman is one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the bitcoin community. As the court case in Florida continues to unfold, we should learn more about the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto and the contributions of Dave Kleiman to bitcoin.