A startup tied to Australian academic and businessman Craig Wright, who last year claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, has been sold.
The sale of nChain – formerly known as EITC Holdings – was announced yesterday. The buyer is a Malta-based investment fund, High Tech Private Equity Fund SICAV plc, which is managed by Zürich-based Accuro Fund Solutions. A group of companies affiliated with nChain was also acquired as part of the deal.
An investigative report published by Reuters last summer connected Wright to EITC, through which as many as 50 patent applications were filed in the UK. Public records show that EITC submitted several dozen patent applications throughout 2016.
Wright made global headlines in late 2015 after several publications identified him as the possible face behind Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin. Word that Wright was the subject of an Australian tax investigation and reports of police raids further heightened the situation.
The developments culminated in a media frenzy when Wright moved to prove that he was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto – the pseudonymous figure credited as bitcoin’s creator – only to drop the bid amid growing scrutiny and criticism. Yet as the controversy abated, rumors began to circulate in the industry that there may be developments related to intellectual property.
But, according to the firm’s announcement, nChain may be planning a more open approach to the patents it is seeking.
In its release, nChain said that it “intends to make some of its intellectual property assets available to the blockchain community through open source software and royalty-free licensing” sometime this year. However, the firm gave no indication when that process might actually begin.
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