Australian computer scientist is not Bitcoin founder Satoshi, High Court rules

14 March 2024, 16:04

Bitcoin
Bitcoin-Record-High. Picture: PA

Craig Wright was sued by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance.

Computer scientist Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym attributed to the person widely credited with creating Bitcoin, a High Court judge has ruled.

Dr Wright has claimed he is Satoshi, and was sued by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (Copa), a non-profit group including cryptocurrency firms.

During a trial at the High Court, Copa claimed Dr Wright had created an “elaborate false narrative” and forged documents to suggest he was Satoshi and had “terrorised” those who questioned him.

The Australian computer scientist, who attended the start of the five-week trial over whether he was the pseudonymised inventor, has denied the allegations.

At the end of the trial on Thursday, Mr Justice Mellor gave a short ruling that Dr Wright was not behind the pseudonym and was not the person who created the Bitcoin system or its initial versions.

According to a court transcript, he said: “Having considered all the evidence and submissions presented to me in this trial, I’ve reached the conclusion that the evidence is overwhelming.”

The London court previously heard that the original Bitcoin founding document, a white paper named Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, was released in 2008 under Satoshi’s name.

Dr Wright first claimed to be Satoshi in 2016.

Jonathan Hough KC, representing Copa, told the court last month that Dr Wright’s claim was “a brazen lie and elaborate false narrative supported by forgery on an industrial scale”.

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

Dr Wright’s barrister Lord Grabiner KC said the expert had released the white paper after “having spent many years devoted to studying and working on concepts underpinning Bitcoin” and there was “clear evidence” demonstrating his creation of the digital currency.

He also said that Copa was “exclusively concerned” with undermining Dr Wright’s claim and that if anyone else was Satoshi, they or their associates would have come forward.

Mr Justice Mellor is expected to give his full decision in writing at a later date.

A Copa spokesperson said: “This decision is 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.

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

By Press Association

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