For eight years, Craig Wright has claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the elusive Bitcoin founder. On Monday, a British courtroom was filled with excitement as the trial to settle the matter finally began.
Surrounded by his defense team, Wright appeared relaxed during opening arguments, leaning back in his chair and crossing one leg over the other. That calm belied both the stakes of the case, which has major implications for the future of Bitcoin, and the forceful argument from plaintiffs’ attorney Jonathan Huff, who called Wright’s allegations against Satoshihood “brazen lies.”
The lawsuit Wright is facing was brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of cryptocurrency and tech companies. COPA argues that Wright’s recent history of filing intellectual property lawsuits based on his claim to be the inventor of BuyCoin has had a “chilling effect” on Bitcoin and has alienated developers. There is. To prevent him from further hindering the development of Bitcoin, he is asking the court to declare that Wright is not Nakamoto.
Today, nearly three years after filing the lawsuit, COPA has its first opportunity to outline its case against Wright in court. Ever since Wright first claimed to be Nakamoto in 2016, he has been “terrifying” Bitcoin developers, Huff said. “COPA filed this complaint to stop this practice,” Huff said.
In contrast to recent crypto lawsuits that have become a kind of public theater, such as the fraud trial of Sam Bankman Fried, the founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. COPA vs. Lite The incident has received little attention. A small group of photographers gathered outside the courthouse on Monday. Inside, several reporters and cryptocurrency watchers were vying for the limited seats. But the lawsuit could have major implications.
The ruling will bind three previous related lawsuits filed by Wright seeking intellectual property claims over Bitcoin. If COPA is successful, it will be difficult for Mr. Wright to pursue these claims any further. If Wright wins his case, and then his own lawsuit, he will be free to act as Bitcoin’s gatekeeper, dictating who is allowed to work on the codebase and under what conditions they can use the system. Be able to decide.
The stakes are “very high,” said a representative from the nonprofit Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund, which is funding the defense of Bitcoin developers in a separate lawsuit filed by Wright. The foundation requested anonymity for fear of legal retaliation from Wright.
Each opening argument focused on COPA’s strategy to invalidate Wright’s claims, discrediting them through forensic analysis of the large amount of documentary evidence Wright submitted, and countering charges of forgery. Both were early indications of Wright’s intended approach.
Much of Mr. Huff’s opening speech focused on how Mr. Wright had falsified or manipulated documentary evidence that, if credible, would have identified him as Nakamoto. Among the various charges, Huff said Wright set his computer’s clock backwards to make it appear as if the document was created before Bitcoin existed, and that he deleted files on his hard drive to create other files. The court accused him of altering the text and entering its contents as evidence, and of attempting to fabricate new evidence. After forensic document analysis experts identify problems with existing materials.