Satoshi Trial Week One Recap

Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • The COPA vs. Wright trial has commenced in London this week
  • Craig Wright testified for four days from Tuesday to Friday in his attempt to solidify his Satoshi claim
  • A victory for Wright could have a huge impact on the Bitcoin ecosystem

The COPA vs. Wright trial, which will decide once and for all whether Craig Wright can litigate based on his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, began in London this week. Wright was on the stand for four days between Tuesday and Friday, with three more to come next week, and possibly more. What are the key themes that have emerged during this first week and how is it shaping up for the man many called Faketoshi?

Conspiracy Theories Reign Supreme

One of the key themes throughout Wright’s testimony has been conspiracy theories. Right from day one he blamed third parties for planting forged evidence on his computers and outing him to Wired and Gizmodo with it, which is why they appeared there.

However, Wright had no evidence to back up these allegations, and on one occasion it was put to him that he had used one particular piece of forged evidence in his tussle with the Australian Tax Office. When presented with this, Wright said that Ira Kleiman, with whom he fought a legal battle in 2021, had been fraudulently filing on behalf of his companies due to an alleged directorship, which Kleiman denied on X.

Wright also made the incredible claim that former nChain CEO Christen Ager-Hanssen had planted fake documents on his system, documents which Wright had entered into evidence at the last minute, supposedly not knowing they were fake. This included the suggestion that Ager-Hanssen, or someone he hired, had tapped into the WiFi network of COPA’s law firm and sent it through that.

These ludicrous and baseless allegations will likely not be taken too well by the judge, Justice Mellor, who is being asked to believe that multiple individuals, forensics experts, law firms, and others are to blame for the forged evidence that Wright has submitted.

No Smoking Gun

Wright’s camp has been very excited over promised smoking gun evidence that will clearly show Wright creating the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, but so far there has been no document offered by Wright that hasn’t been tampered with in some way. Wright’s reasons as to why Bitcoin whitepaper drafts have metadata from later years or, in some cases, actual text from later versions of the whitepaper is that other people in his companies accessed the files and that he doesn’t work in a linear fashion.

The lack of one non-manipulated document among the hundreds Wright has submitted, together with his convoluted answers which are almost all hearsay are not convincing to those who aren’t already on this side.

Experts? What Experts?

The COPA vs. Wright case has seen at least four forensic experts analyze Wright’s documentary evidence and report on it. All of them have been broadly, if not wholly, negative towards Wright, with even his own experts agreeing with COPA’s that masses of the documents submitted as reliance documents are forged or manipulated. This includes the ones that Wright was allowed to replace twice at the eleventh hour.

Wright’s response has been to decry the experts as either biased against him (more conspiracy theories) or inept, saying that they are not qualified to be assessing his work. The judge even had to remind him at one point that he was going to rely on the expert testimony, so if Wright had any chance of success he should focus on the content of the reports and not their creators. This dismissal of the validity of opinions from multiple experts is likely to count against Wright, alongside their findings.

A Bad Week Ended Worse

Wright’s testimony on Tuesday, which focused heavily on his early technological creations, saw him give confident answers on many matters, although they went into such complexity that few people actually could tell whether he was being accurate or not. Nevertheless, this led to his supporters flooding social media with proclamations that Wright was making a mockery of the COPA barrister, who often had no answer to some of Wright’s comments.

However, what these individuals didn’t realize was that it wasn’t the barrister’s job to challenge him on everything but to walk Wright through his witness statements, gather his responses to queries, and try to trip him up over inconsistencies where possible. This began to happen in earnest on Wednesday, and by Friday Wright was ranting about people standing outside offices and planting documents as part of a huge conspiracy against him by sacked nChain staff. It’s fair to say that Wright’s supporters will, by now, be aware of the strategy.

Wright’s demeanor shifted noticeably as the week progressed, with Friday seeing him much more animated and clearly rattled as more and more of the inconsistencies in his stories were pointed out to him, leading him to make even more outrageous claims with no evidence.

As well as another three days of testimony from Wright, next week will see his maligned forensics experts questioned over his responses to their reports, which will likely be where this trial is won or lost.