“Overwhelming evidence” shows Craig Wright did not create bitcoin, judge says

Enlarge / Dr. Craig Wright arrives at the Rolls Building, part of the Royal Courts of Justice, on February 06, 2024, in London, England.

“Overwhelming evidence” shows that Australian computer scientist Craig Wright is not bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, a UK judge declared Thursday.

In what Wired described as a “surprise ruling” at the closing of Wright’s six-week trial, Justice James Mellor abruptly ended years of speculation by saying:

Dr. Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin white paper. Dr. Wright is not the person that operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Dr. Wright is not the person that created the Bitcoin system. Nor is Dr. Wright the author of the Bitcoin software.

Wright was not in the courtroom for this explosive moment, Wired reported.

In 2016, Wright claimed that he did not have the “courage” to prove that he was the creator of bitcoin, shortly after claiming that he had “extraordinary proof.” As debate swirled around his claims, Wright began filing lawsuits, alleging that many had violated his intellectual property rights.

A nonprofit called the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) sued to stop Wright from filing any more lawsuits that it alleged were based on fabricated evidence, Wired reported. COPA submitted hundreds of alleged instances of forgery or tampering, Wired reported, asking the UK High Court for a permanent injunction to block Wright from ever making the claim again.

As a result of Mellor’s ruling, CoinDesk reported that Wright’s lawsuits against Coinbase and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s Block would be halted. COPA’s lawyer, Jonathan Hough, told CoinDesk that Wright’s conduct should be considered “deadly serious.”

“On the basis of his dishonest claim to be Satoshi, he has pursued claims he puts at hundreds of billions of dollars, including against numerous private individuals,” Hough said.

On Thursday, Dorsey posted a “W” on X (formerly Twitter), marking the win and quoting Mellor’s statements clearly rejecting Wright’s claims as false. COPA similarly celebrated the victory.

“This decision is a win for developers, for the entire open source community, and for the truth,” a COPA spokesperson told CoinDesk. “For over eight years, Dr. Wright and his financial backers have lied about his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto and used that lie to bully and intimidate developers in the bitcoin community. That ends today with the court’s ruling that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.”

Wright’s counsel, Lord Anthony Grabiner, had argued that Mellor granting an injunction would infringe Wright’s freedom of speech. Grabiner noted that “such a prohibition is unprecedented in the UK and would prevent Wright from even casually going to the park and declaring he’s Satoshi without incurring fines or going to prison,” CoinDesk reported.

COPA thinks the injunction is necessary, though.

“We are seeking to enjoin Dr. Wright from ever claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto again and in doing so avoid further litigation terror campaigns,” COPA’s spokesperson told Wired.

And that’s not all that COPA wants. COPA has also petitioned for Wright’s alleged forgeries—some of which Reuters reported were allegedly produced using ChatGPT—to be reviewed by UK criminal courts, where he could face fines and/or prison time. Hough alleged at trial that Wright “has committed fraud upon the court,” Wired reported, asking Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service to consider prosecuting Wright for “perjury and perverting the course of justice,” CoinDesk reported.

Wright’s counsel argued that COPA would need more evidence to back such a claim, CoinDesk reported.

Mellor won’t issue his final judgment for a month or more, Wired reported, so it’s not clear yet if Wright will be enjoined from claiming he is bitcoin’s creator. The judgment will “be ready when it’s ready and not before,” Mellor said.

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