Wednesday, 7 February 2024

The Trial That Could End Craig Wright’s Satoshi Claim For Good Started Today

by Rose White

Forged documents, anachronistic evidence, and false statements. According to the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), Craig Steven Wright has over the past years presented it all in an effort to prove he is Satoshi Nakamoto — and the non-profit believes it is now time to bring a halt to his “brazen lie”. On day 1 of the COPA v Wright trial in London, COPA delivered their opening statements in what will be a weeks-long effort to shut down Wright’s litigious behavior once and for all.

The trial is of particular significance because it stands to affect a number of other upcoming court cases, perhaps most importantly including a lawsuit filed by Wright against several Bitcoin Core contributors. If COPA is able to prove that Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto, he is unlikely to stand a chance in these cases. But if the High Court judge rules that Wright is in fact Bitcoin’s creator, it could eventually result in the Australian computer scientist gaining copyright over the Bitcoin white paper and source code, which could severely stifle the Bitcoin development process. Already, Wright’s actions appear to have had somewhat of a chilling effect on the open source development community.

The list of apparent deceit presented by COPA is long and, in some cases, rather technical: digital forensics that indicate Wright backdated documents and forged files, as well as evidence that he used software Satoshi Nakamoto could not have used. In other cases, the anachronism seems quite blatant, like the handwritten note about testing EdDSA signatures for Bitcoin: the signature algorithm was only introduced in 2011, well over two years after the publication of the Bitcoin source code.

Wright’s defense — he did not speak himself today — in turn claimed that their client shares both Satoshi Nakamoto’s philosophy as well as a skillset the inventor of Bitcoin would be presumed to possess. Combined with eyewitness accounts of Wright cryptographically signing data with keys only Satoshi Nakamoto should have, they contend this makes it likely that their client indeed is who he says he is. It’s plausible that Wright no longer has access to more evidence that would prove his claim, his defense further argued, because the Australian destroyed a lot of it after a mental breakdown which almost led him to commit suicide.

Over the next couple of weeks, claims from both sides will be further examined, as many expert witnesses — starting with Wright himself — will take turns to offer their testimonies before High Court Justice Mellor. With the trial expected to run well into March, a final verdict will follow later.

For more details on today’s proceedings, also see these X threads by Norbert and Bitmex Research.