Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? The mysterious inventor of bitcoin is a renowned figure in the world of cryptocurrencies but his true identity is unknown.
However, British blogger Peter McCormack was certain of one thing: the answer is not Craig Wright.
For years Wright, an Australian computer scientist, claimed to be Satoshi, the pseudonymous author of the 2008 white paper behind bitcoin.
Wright’s claim to be the inventor of the digital asset – he first tried to prove himself as Satoshi in 2016, months after his name first surfaced – has led to a series of legal brawls. , some of which continue.
One of them came to a Pyrrhic conclusion in London this week when it was discovered that McCormack caused serious damage to Wright’s reputation by repeatedly claiming he is a cheat and not Satoshi.
But Wright, 52, won a nominal £ 1 compensation after a high court judge ruled that he had provided “deliberately false evidence” in support of his defamation complaint.
For cost reasons, McCormack has not offered a defense of the truth – in which the defendant in the case attempts to prove the allegations are essentially true – as Mr. Justice Chamberlain ruled that a claim made in a YouTube video discussion was defamatory, while a series of tweets repeating the fraud claims caused serious damage to Wright’s reputation.
“Because he [Wright] made a deliberately false case and deliberately presented false evidence up to a few days before the trial, it will recover only the nominal damages, “the judge wrote.
McCormack’s defense, moved to a much narrower level, was that the video and tweets did not cause serious damage to Wright’s reputation. Wright claimed that his reputation had been severely damaged by the tweets because he had been uninvited from 10 conferences, which meant that the academic papers that would be presented at those events had not been published.
McCormack presented evidence from conference organizers that disputed Wright’s claims. Those claims were later withdrawn from Wright’s case at the trial in May.
The judge was fierce. He said: “Dr. Wright’s original case of serious harm and the supporting evidence, both maintained until a few days before the trial, were deliberately false.”
Wright, who lives in Surrey and is the chief scientist at blockchain technology firm nChain, said he brought the case “not for a financial reward, but for the principle and to get others to think twice before trying to put questioning my reputation. ”
And the lawsuits keep piling up. Wright has other cases pending in the high court. He filed a libel suit against Norwegian Twitter user Marcus Granath, who also accused the Australian of being a fraud. Granath recently failed to get the case closed.
Wright also sued two cryptocurrency exchanges in a case where he claims that a digital asset called Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), which he claims, is the true descendant of the white paper.
The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (Copa), a non-profit organization that supports cryptocurrencies, is seeking a high court statement that Wright is not the author of the white paper. His case states that Wright falsified the evidence produced in support of his claim to be Satoshi. Wright, who denies Copa’s claims, failed in an attempt to get the case closed last year.
There were more legal back and forth before. In 2020, Wright lost an attempt to sue Roger Ver, an early bitcoin advocate, for calling Wright a YouTube fraud after a judge ruled that the appropriate jurisdiction for a lawsuit would be the United States. A year later, Wright won a copyright infringement claim against the anonymous operator and publisher of the site bitcoin.org for publishing the white paper. Wright won by default after bitcoin.org’s publisher, who goes by the name Cobra, refused to speak out on their behalf.
In the United States, Wright won a lawsuit in December that saved him from having to pay a multi-billion dollar amount in bitcoin to the family of David Kleiman, a former business partner. Kleiman’s family had claimed that he was a co-creator of bitcoin along with Wright and therefore they were entitled to half of the 1.1 million bitcoins “mined” by Satoshi.
The case was closely followed in the expectation that if Wright lost he would have to move those bitcoins, seen as the sword-in-the-stone test that would prove Satoshi’s true identity. Those coins are now worth $ 25 billion (£ 21 billion) at the current price of around $ 23,000 and are located on the bitcoin blockchain, a decentralized ledger that records all bitcoin transactions.
Satoshi released the founding text of the cryptocurrency – Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System – on October 31, 2008 and communicated via email with the first adherents of the currency before disappearing in 2011.
Carol Alexander, a finance professor at the University of Sussex business school, says Wright could prove he is Satoshi by using so-called private keys – a secure code made up of a hexadecimal string of numbers and letters – that will unlock access to bitcoins. .
“The only way Wright could prove that he is SN would be to make a transaction with some of the original bitcoins,” he said.
Wright strongly believes it won’t, saying private keys don’t prove ownership or identity. There are few other Satoshi candidates. In 2014, a Japanese-American man, Dorian S Nakamoto, was named by Newsweek as the creator of bitcoin and promptly denied any connection to the digital currency. The most informed speculation has centered on Nick Szabo, an American computer scientist who designed BitGold, seen as a conceptual precursor to bitcoin. But he also denied that he could be Satoshi.
Meanwhile, Judge Chamberlain has left open a question that remains unanswered. “Satoshi’s identity is not among the issues I have to determine,” he said.