A UK court is set to determine whether Australian computer scientist Craig Wright is the real Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin.
COPA’s Case Against Wright
The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a non-profit organization of cryptocurrency advocates, filed a case against Wright in the UK’s High Court of Justice in April 2021. COPA alleges that Wright did not author the Bitcoin white paper and has no copyright over it. The organization also requested that the court prohibit Wright from claiming he did.
Wright has claimed to be the author of the Bitcoin white paper since 2016, but his evidence has been widely disputed. In response to COPA’s lawsuit, Wright’s lawyer, Anthony Grabiner, stated that the entrepreneur has supplied “clear evidence” that he is the creator of Bitcoin.
The Significance of the Case
If Wright is indeed Nakamoto, it would mean he has intellectual property rights over Bitcoin, which would have significant implications for the cryptocurrency’s future. A finding that he didn’t author the Bitcoin white paper, though, might finally be enough to put his claims to rest.
COPA’s Evidence Against Wright
COPA alleges that Wright has failed to provide definitive proof that he is the inventor of Bitcoin and has forged multiple documents to support his claim. For example, COPA stated that while Wright asserts that he wrote the pivotal 2008 white paper in typesetting software LaTeX, experts for both sides agree that it was actually written in OpenOffice.
Wright’s Defamation Suits
Wright has filed several defamation suits against people who have accused him of falsely claiming to be Bitcoin’s inventor. Such suits have been largely unsuccessful thus far. A UK court in one such case awarded Wright only £1 in damages after finding that he “advanced a deliberately false case and put forward deliberately false evidence.” His appeal was denied.
The Court’s Decision
The court’s decision in this case could have a significant impact on the future of Bitcoin. If Wright is found to be the author of the Bitcoin white paper, he could potentially claim intellectual property rights over the cryptocurrency. This could lead to legal challenges and uncertainty for businesses and individuals who use Bitcoin.