UK Judge refutes computer scientist’s Bitcoin founder claim

Statue of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Editorial credit: Alexey Gorovoi / Shutterstock.com

A London High Court judge has determined that Australian computer scientist Craig Wright fabricated documents in an attempt to falsely claim he was the inventor of Bitcoin.

In March, Judge James Mellor concluded that the evidence showed Wright was not the pseudonymous “Satoshi Nakamoto” and provided detailed reasons for this conclusion on Monday (20 May).

In its 1736 paragraphs, Mellor addressed Wright’s fraudulent claims, stating that his evidence was “at best questionable or of very dubious relevance or entirely circumstantial and at worst, fabricated and/or based on documents that I am satisfied have been forged on a grand scale by Dr. Wright.”

The Judge’s ruling read: “Dr Wright’s attempts to prove he was/is Satoshi Nakamoto represent a most serious abuse of this Court’s process… It is clear that Dr Wright engaged in the deliberate production of false documents to support false claims and use the Courts as a vehicle for fraud. 

“Despite acknowledging in this Trial that a few documents were inauthentic, he steadfastly refused to acknowledge any of the forged documents. Instead, he lied repeatedly and extensively in his attempts to deflect the allegations of forgery”

The case, brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), aimed to prevent Wright from suing Bitcoin developers.

In May 2016, Wright publicly claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin. He made this statement to three publications – BBC, The Economist and GQ – and sent messages digitally signed with cryptographic keys that were created during the early days of Bitcoin’s development.

These cryptographic keys were mentioned by Wright in court. He said: “These are the blocks used to send 10 Bitcoins to Hal Finney in January (2009) as the first Bitcoin transaction.”

However, Judge Mellor concluded that this was a false statement. The Judge stated: “To avoid setting out essentially the same conclusions 40 times, I can state at the outset that I find each of the allegations of forgery proved.”

In addition to proving that every document submitted was altered, the Judge found that Wright was personally responsible for the creation of each of the forgeries that COPA alleged.

Furthermore, Wright demonstrated a lack of understanding of fundamental aspects of Bitcoin technology, which unsurprisingly cast doubt on his claim to be the founder of Bitcoin.

In a blog post, a COPA spokesperson wrote: “This decision is a watershed moment for the open-source community and even more importantly, a definitive win for the truth. Developers can now continue their important work maintaining, iterating on, and improving the Bitcoin network without risking their personal livelihoods or fearing costly and time-consuming litigation from Craig Wright.

“Today’s ruling is the result of a concerted and united effort across the entire open source community – from developers, to those who selflessly contributed to funding this important case, to all members of the COPA alliance – and we want to thank them all for their time, dedication and support. Justice has been served today for the entire community.”