Satoshi Identity Trial Starts Today

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  • Australian Craig Wright faces trial in the UK High Court today over his nine-year claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto
  • Having lost a similar case in Norway in 2022, Wright has staked his reputation on this trial against the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA)
  • Wright’s submitted evidence, including hundreds of documents, is disputed by both COPA’s and his own forensic examiners, who allege massive manipulation.

The trial of an Australian man who has claimed for nine years that he is behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto will begin in the UK High Court today, the verdict of which will set a huge precedent in law over the matter. Craig Wright, who lost a similar case in Norway in 2022, has staked his entire reputation on the outcome of the trial, which sees him go to toe with the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) over Wright’s claim to have written the Bitcoin whitepaper and to own its copyright. Wright has already submitted hundreds of documents as evidence to back up his claim, evidence that both COPA’s and Wright’s own forensic examiners attest is mainly made up of manipulated documents.

Almost Three-year Wait Comes to Fruition

COPA initiated legal action against Craig Wright in April 2021 after Wright sent cease-and-desist letters to certain member companies, instructing them to cease hosting the Bitcoin whitepaper, which he claims is copyrighted by him.

Wright declined to prove his Satoshi claim after COPA asked him nine questions relating to his argument, which resulted in COPA filing a lawsuit seeking to establish that Wright was not the true author of the Bitcoin whitepaper and, consequently, had no legitimate claim to sue COPA members based on this premise.

Initially, Wright and his supporters welcomed the lawsuit, but in October 2023 when it was revealed that COPA’s forensic analysts had found over 400 forgeries in Wright’s evidence pile. Even Wright’s own analyst acknowledged evidence tampering, prompting COPA to request an additional claim related to Wright being a serial forger. Justice Mellor, the presiding judge, approved this claim in December, potentially leading to a contempt of court charge if Wright is found guilty.

Wright sought a delay in the case in December after claiming to have discovered two thumb drives with evidence dating back to 2007, a delay that was agreed by the judge. However, of the 97 documents used as evidence from the drives, 71 were found to be definite forgeries with the remainder containing insufficient data for testing.

Wright’s Legal Revolving Door

Wright will have to defend himself against these forgery claims and hope that his witnesses are strong enough to overcome this evidentiary catastrophe, the same witnesses, by and large, that failed to convince the judge in the Hodlonaut vs Wright case in 2022. In that case, a KPMG report on Wright’s forgeries was crucial to sealing his defeat, with Judge Helen Engebrigtsen ruling that Hodlonaut “had sufficient factual grounds to claim that Wright had lied and cheated in his attempt to prove that he is Satoshi Nakamoto.”

Wright will be represented by barristers appointed by Shoosmiths, his third set of lawyers for the trial. Wright began with Ontier, who he threw under the bus when he claimed they were the reason why he hadn’t filed certain evidence in the first round of discovery, and then changed to Travers Smith in June 2023. Travers Smith lasted just three months before they hot-footed it, right at the time when the first forensic report dropped.

Bitcoin Developers Banking in Victory

Should Wright lose the case he will not be able to litigate on the basis that he is Bitcoin’s creator, allowing Bitcoin developers to continue their work without fear of being on the end of financially damaging lawsuits by power-hungry fraudsters.

The trial is expected to last six weeks, with Wright taking the stand for six days from tomorrow.