Craig Wright, the Australian man who claims to have created Bitcoin, is quietly attempting to build himself an empire by filing virtual currency patents with UK officials.
In the last week alone, Wright has used Antigua-based EITC Holdings to file 24 cryptocurrency-related patents with the UK's Intellectual Property Office.
Since February, a total of 51 patents has been filed with the office.
Patents filed in the UK, pending review, include those describing the technology behind "Implementing logic gate functionality using a blockchain," an "operating system for blockchain IOT devices," "payment and distribution of digital content" and "a method and system for controlling the performance of a contract using a distributed hash table and a peer to peer distributed ledger [blockchain]."
If Wright succeeds in his plans to dominate virtual currency-related patents, holding this intellectual property could earn him a fortune as the technology underpinning the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency market would likely rely on licensing to the patent holder.
According to Reuters, sources close to EITC say the company is far from finished when it comes to filing patents for the Australian.
EITC expects to file approximately 400 on behalf of Wright.
If some, or all, of these patents are accepted, the patent portfolio could be sold off for a high price, and would be significant and valuable investments for startups and businesses looking to cash in on digital currency.
Patents concerning the blockchain, in particular, would fetch a high price as the database underpins cryptocurrency as the decentralized recorder and backbone of digital transactions.
Andrew O'Hagan, a journalist who has spent time with Wright, says that associates of the Australian are working on more patents to file, and the full set will eventually be packaged and sold for "for upwards of a billion dollars."
Many doubt the claims of Wright, who says that his alias, "Satoshi Nakamoto," was used to keep his true identity as the creator of virtual currency under wraps. Wright provided 'proof' in the form of Bitcoins known to be owned by the creator of the virtual currency, but experts found that validation was difficult.
A number of figures in the cryptocurrency scene are asking for additional proof before accepting Wright as the creator of Bitcoin.
Since coming out to the media, Wright has kept a low profile and has mostly declined interviews with the media.