Australian man claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto lost suit over identity

A computer scientist failed to prove he was the founder of Bitcoin.

A judge at the High Court of Justice in London rejected this week a bid from Australian computer scientist and businessman Craig Steven Wright claiming he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym attributed to the creator of Bitcoin, the world’s first and most popular cryptocurrency. 

Last March, Wright, 53, lost the case against the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a non-profit group including cryptocurrency firms, which accused him of “forgery on an industrial scale” and “spread of lies.”

After a five-week trial, Judge Justice Mellor issued on 20 May the verdict stating that the evidence proved the Australian was not Satoshi Nakamoto, and therefore had not written the cryptocurrency’s founding document, known as the Bitcoin White Paper. 

In December 2023, Wright lost another related case to COPA and a group of developers, which were awarded £650,000 in costs.

In written reasons for his decision, the judge said the documents submitted by Wright were “forgeries on a grand scale.”

“Most of his lies related to the documents he had forged which purported to support his claim. All his lies and forged documents were in support of his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto,” the judge stated, admitting at the same time that many of Wright’s affirmations were true.

Barristers for COPA told the trial in London earlier this year that Wright’s claim to be Satoshi was “founded on an elaborate false narrative” and was backed by documents which showed “clear signs of having been doctored”.

But lawyers for the Australian claimed the expert had spent many years devoted to studying and working on concepts underpinning Bitcoin, before releasing the white paper and if anyone else were Satoshi, they or their associates would have come forward. 

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But in his 231-page judgment, Judge Mellor noted that “it is likely that a number of people contributed to the creation of Bitcoin, albeit that there may well have been one central individual.”

COPA and developers now can continue working to maintain, iterate on, and improve the Bitcoin network without risking penalties or fee costs should Craig Wright have one the litigation.

Wright said he would appeal the ruling in order to seek “compensations for his work.”

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