Satoshi Trial Week Two Recap

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  • The COPA vs. Wright trial continued in London this week
  • Craig Wright testified for three more days before two days of witnesses
  • Wright’s continual denials have painted a picture of someone with selectively positive memories

This week has seen more back and forth in the COPA vs. Craig Wright trial, which could see Wright anointed by a UK court as Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto. On the flip side, it could also see him confirmed as a fraud and forger of evidence. Let’s catch up and see what has been happening this week.

Wright Takes the Stand (Again)

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday saw the cross-examination of Wright continue, with the intensity certainly ramped up as the week drew on. Wright was questioned over his working history, allegations of plagiarism, early drafts of the Bitcoin whitepaper, early Bitcoin development, and much more.

Unlike the prior week, Wright was unable to deflect with technobabble, especially when confronted with emails and factual occurrences that negated his story. Academics Wright said had helped him work on the ideas for Bitcoin professed to never have met him, those he said had received copies of the Bitcoin whitepaper denied it, and emails involving Wright’s story of the 2016 signing sessions were decried as forgeries by the man himself.

There were plenty of gotcha moments, such as when Wright wasn’t able to explain a basic coding term (which COPA’s barrister quickly explained to him) and when an email from Calvin Ayre totally undermined Wright’s claim of Ayre having no financial incentive from a Wright victory.

In terms of his performance, whereas the previous cock-sure Wright had last week been freely offering all manner of explanations of technical elements of Bitcoin and IT (some of which have proved to be straightforwardly false), by Wednesday Wright had the appearance of a condemned man. Having been worn down by days of trying to explain damaging emails, blog posts, and more by claiming they were the actions of other people hell-bent on bringing him down, Wright seemed out of ideas and energy and as the barrister for the Bitcoin Core developers hammered him on basic concepts of Bitcoin, to which Wright often had no answer.

Wright’s ordeal is not over, however; he will take the stand for one more day, likely next week, to face questioning over allegations of fraudulent evidence recently submitted to the court.

Wright’s Witnesses Day 1 (Thursday)

The first day of witness testimony saw three people take to the witness box in support of Wright: Dr Ignatious Pang, Robert Jenkins, and Shoiab Yousuf. Like Wright, all three had given their witness testimonies ahead of questioning, with COPA’s lawyers testing them for holes.

Dr Pang worked at one of Wright’s companies, Srasan (then C01N) in the early 2010s, which was supposedly to do with developing systems related to Bitcoin, including mining. The questioning of Pang focused on data analysis he did for Wright rather than any Bitcoin work and a discussion in a canteen about Satoshi Nakamoto, which Dr Pang freely admitted was a “hazy” recollection.

Robert Jenkins, who previoulsy testified on Wright’s behalf in the Hodlonaut trial, claimed to have had conversations with Wright over blockchain technology but was inconsistent over the year in which this happened, eventually concluding that it was 2011, two years after Bitcoin launched. He was also accused of being coached after he referenced Timecoin, an alleged precursor to Bitcoin, when prompted by Wright’s barrister, only for COPA’s barrister to uncover that Jenkins had it written in front of him, having never mentioned it before.

Worse was to come for Wright with Shoaib Yousuf’s testimony. Yousef was listed as a director of C01N, but claimed no knowledge of the alleged supercomputer activities that Wright had claimed took place but which the Australian Taxation Office denied existed. While Yousef’s testimony wasn’t particularly damaging for Wright’s Satoshi Nakamoto claim, it nevertheless painted the picture of him as someone who used people to try and defraud the tax office.

Wright’s Witnesses Day 2 (Friday)

Friday was a far quicker, and less interesting affair. Wright’s first witness, his younger sister Danielle DeMorgan, explained how she knew Wright was Satoshi because he liked Japanese things and the name sounded Japanese; Mark Archbold, a former manager at Lasseters online casino with Wright, explained how Wright had implemented their security systems; and Cerian Jones, a patent attorney who works with nChain, was quizzed over Wright’s patent filing claims.

In truth, nothing of any value was gained from the examination of the witnesses with regard to Wright’s Satoshi claim on Friday, with all eyes now turning to next week and Wright’s star witness: Stefan Matthews.