Bitcoin Copyright and Fiduciary Duty Cases Dropped

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  • Craig Wright has dropped four court cases related to Bitcoin copyright and fiduciary duties
  • Wright has privately accepted defeat in the copyright cases and has filed to have the pineapple case withdrawn
  • The withdrawals follow his defeat to COPA last month

Craig Wright’s legal capitulation has continued with news that he has dropped four separate court cases concerning Bitcoin copyright and fiduciary duties. Wright filed to have the fiduciary duties case, which dates back to 2020, pulled, having had to battle through an appeals process to get it into court in the first place, while sources tell us that he has privately accepted defeat in the three copyright cases. The capitulation comes a month after Wright was found not to be Satoshi Nakamoto by a UK High Court judge and a week after he withdrew his appeal following his loss to Hodlonaut in Norway.

Copyright Cases

Wright sued a collection of Bitcoin developers and exchanges in 2022, alleging that, because he was Satoshi Nakamoto, they were breaching his copyright by distributing the Bitcoin whitepaper without his consent. In addition, Wright accused them of using the Bitcoin database and file format in a similar way, again preaching his ownership and claiming that the license through which they were issued, the MIT license, did not cover changes to the protocol.

The defendants tried to kick all three cases, succeeding on one, the file format issue, but Wright won on appeal. This ensured that this hattrick of cases would go forward to be tried in court. Last year, Wright sought to get the result of the COPA vs. Wright case applied to a number of other cases, including the copyright cases, assuming he would be victorious.

In defeat, however, Wright’s claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto has been proved false, meaning that he cannot possibly have created the Bitcoin database and file format and therefore doesn’t own the copyright. Sources tell us that Wright has privately accepted defeat on these matters, with filings set to be made in the coming days.

Fiduciary Duties

Wright’s fiduciary duties case is otherwise known as the ‘pineapple hack’ case. Wright had claimed that his home security systems were breached in February 2020, his computer network infiltrated, and the private keys to the wallets containing around 110,000 BTC, BCH, and BSV stolen from him. One of the wallets in question is the 1Feex wallet, which is known to have been used by hackers of MtGox in 2011 to steal almost 80,000 coins.

Wright’s claim, if it were true, would make it the biggest heist in British history, albeit one that has never been mentioned publicly by police.

Wright took legal action against the developers of the blockchains concerned, claiming that they owed him a fiduciary duty over the coins and they should either get the coins back for him or mint him new ones. He initially saw the case thrown out but won on appeal, theoretically taking the case to the UK High Court.

However, in the wake of his defeat to COPA, Wright yesterday terminated the case, which we predicted was a strong possibility. This is no small matter, seeing as the coins are now worth more than $8 billion, which suggests that Wright had realized he had no chance of winning. This itself is no surprise seeing as he had already pulled the only two pieces of supposedly contemporaneous evidence, claiming they were false and had been planted on him.

The State of Play

These four withdrawals, added to the Hodlonaut appeal retraction, leave Wright with a handful of cases left: his UK libel case against Hodlonaut, which we fully expect him to pull in the coming weeks, and a series of ‘passing off’ cases against a group of crypto exchanges. However, having now legally admitted that he doesn’t have the grounds to say he controls the Bitcoin copyright, file format, or database, the chances are that he will not try and legally enforce the idea that BSV is the real Bitcoin.

Given that these cases, too, were bound up in the COPA vs. Wright result, we expect them to be pulled too. This all leaves Wright facing millions in legal bills for no reward and a reputation more tattered than it was when he started his legal spree back in 2019.