Can Bitcoin finally move on from Craig Wright?

England's High Court of Justice delivered a heavy blow to Wright with a judgment that said he "lied to the court extensively and repeatedly."
England's High Court of Justice delivered a heavy blow to Wright with a judgment that said he "lied to the court extensively and repeatedly."

Nearly a decade after Craig Wright began terrorizing the Bitcoin (BTC) community with claims that he was Satoshi Nakamoto, a British court has delivered a verdict: Wright is not Satoshi.

The ruling came this month from Justice James Mellor of England's High Court of Justice in a civil case spearheaded by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA). His decision stated Wright “lied to the court extensively and repeatedly” while engaging “in forgery on a grand scale” to prove he was Satoshi.

Mellor excoriated Wright at length in his scathing judgment, writing, in part:

Dr. Wright presents himself as an extremely clever person. However, in my judgment, he is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. In both his written evidence and in days of oral evidence under cross-examination, I am entirely satisfied that Dr Wright lied to the Court extensively and repeatedly. 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.

While hardcore Bitcoiners haven’t thought much about Wright since he began making his claims in 2015, the mainstream media swiftly gave him the popular platform he needed to bully and damage people, companies, and Bitcoin’s image.

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However, thanks to the court’s decision, the industry can uphold the narrative of Bitcoin’s “immaculate conception” without lingering doubt planted by Wright — with assistance, in part, from the likes of Gizmodo, Wired, BBC, The Economist, The Financial Times, GQ, and other publications. Too many in the media failed to simply look at the facts, including the fact that cryptographic data is easily verified.

 Justice James Mellor excoriated Craig Wright at length in his judgment.

Even in 2019, some in the media had yet to receive the memo about Wright. When Wright filed a U.S. copyright claim for the Bitcoin white paper in April 2019, the Financial Times quoted a Wright spokesman who called it “the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.”

In addition to the press, Wright fooled Gavin Andresen, to whom Satoshi entrusted the Bitcoin source code when he stopped contributing and moved on to other things. Citing a “muddled environment,” Bitcoin developers revoked Andresen’s commit access amid the confusion Wright caused. That was a big deal for the Bitcoin industry at the time. It was a time of great uneasiness when Wright appeared on the scene.

Developer Gavin Andresen gave presentation tot he CIA in 2011. Source:

Satoshi, known only via text communications, appears to have been patient, disciplined, reasoned and tempered. He never tried to bask in the limelight, though he had opportunities. He wanted early adopters to refrain from advertising Bitcoin because he didn’t think it was ready for further adoption. He walked away in 2011, presumably nervous after WikiLeaks began accepting Bitcoin and Andresen gave a presentation to the CIA.

Related: Welcome to the United Kingdom — Please hand over your crypto

Wright, on the other hand, has always been boastful. He strongly implied he was Satoshi in person, on panels, and back-dated blog posts to make it seem possible. “Faketoshi,” as Wright is referred to on Bitcoin’s internet forums, took every opportunity to place himself in the limelight. Mellor wrote that Wright’s attempt to prove he was Satoshi was “a most serious abuse of this court’s process.”

The decision represents a solid defeat for Wright, though he has said he will appeal. In the meantime, it may expose him to lawsuits from those who have adversely suffered from his antics, including companies and content creators such as Coinbase and Peter McCormack.

If Wright were Satoshi, he could have crafted a message (“Craig Wright is Satoshi”) and signed that message with the private key to the Genesis Block. And he would be able to sign the message with a PGP key — one that wasn't backdated. But that has never happened.

One person’s ability to engage in baseless lawfare should scare us all. I hesitate to type the words, lest I get caught in the crosshairs: Bitcoin can finally move on from Craig Wright.

Kadan Stadelmann is guest author for Cointelegraph and chief technology officer for the Komodo Platform. He graduated from the University of Vienna in 2011 with a degree in information technology before attending the Berlin Institute of Technology for technical informatics and scientific computing. He joined the Komodo team in 2016.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.