A British court reckons bitcoin’s creator isn’t an Australian called Craig

- March 15, 2024 2 MIN READ
Orange is the new bitcoin. Photo: AdobeStock
Ever since the Titanic was found, the world has held few mysteries.

The whereabouts of the 239 souls tragically lost aboard MH370 is one.

That MAFS is now in a 10th season and rating well is a personal one.

Another, since 2008, is who is Satoshi Nakamoto, the author of a white paper on the world’s predominant cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

According to a British High Court judge “the evidence is overwhelming” that it aint Dr Craig Wright, a Sydney computer scientist.

There hasn’t been this much controversy about a bloke called Craig since Neighbours.

For a nation that claims the pavlova, Crowded House, and Indigenous rights among the things we pioneered, this is a potentially major blow to our national psyche.

But after a wild six-week trial in London, instigated by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), which counts Block cofounder Jack Dorsey and Coinbase among its members, Justice Edward Mellor handed down an extemporaneous decision, straight after the case ended, that Dr Wright is not the Spiderman of bitcoin.

“Having considered all the evidence and submissions presented to me in this trial, I’ve reached the conclusion that the evidence is overwhelming,” his honour said.

“First, that Dr Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin White Paper. Second, Dr Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011. Third, Dr Wright is not the person who created the bitcoin system. And, fourth, he is not the author of the initial versions of the bitcoin software.”

Wright has been claiming he’s the mysterious bitcoin ninja for some time, regularly suing people who disagreed, and winning, as recently as an August 2022 defamation case, for being called a fraud. He scored £1 for his troubles when the judge ruled he “advanced a deliberately false case and put forward deliberately false evidence until days before trial”. Nakamoto’s identity was not part of that ruling.

Back to this latest case, where COPA at one staged accused Wright of using ChatGPT to create documents.

COPA’s barrister, Jonathan Hough, said Wright’s claim to be Sakamoto was: “a brazen lie and elaborate false narrative supported by forgery on an industrial scale”.

He told the court: “Dr Wright has consistently failed to supply genuine proof of his claim to be Nakamoto instead, he has repeatedly proffered documents which bear clear signs of having been doctored”.

Expert witnesses supported that submission.

It got weirder when Wright said in cross-examination, amid denying accusations that he falsified documents, that one of his defence witnesses was rubbish.

Justice Mellor had a different view.

So it appears we’re back to claiming wifi, the hills hoist and AFL among our brilliant inventions, but not bitcoin.

COPA called the case “a win for developers, for the entire open source community, and for the truth”.

“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” a COPA spokesperson said.

“That ends today with the court’s ruling that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.”

But there is some solace for Dr Wright.

If he truly is Nakamoto, then he reportedly holds around 1 million bitcoin. It hit around A$110,000 today, meaning Wrightamoto is potentially among the world’s 25 richest people, holding A$100 billion+ in bitcoin.

HODL Craig.

Hopefully your lawyers accept crypto.