The Trial Of Satoshi Nakamoto continues into 2024
A trial will be held on whether Satoshi Nakamoto, who created Bitcoin, is Dr. Craig Wright in February 2024.
Wright is the person who, until recently, led Bitcoin SV (Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, BSV) at nChain. In 2015, he was first covered by WIRED, a media press focused on technologies, which brought him to the public eye as a creator of Bitcoin.
However, the controversy about his identity issue continued afterward.
He has constantly ignored requests by the crypto community to sign with Satoshi's private keys, and garnered the name "Faketoshi" by some.
In May 2019, he registered the copyright of the Bitcoin whitepaper and the original code with the USCO (US Copyright Office), and it caused opposition from the crypto industry.
At the time, the industry fiercely criticized his actions, saying, ‘Anyone can register copyright.’
In February 2024, a trial will be held in the UK which will put an end to the controversy over the identity of Craig Wright.
There have been large and small lawsuits related to him, including property disputes and defamation, but this is the first time that a lawsuit has been filed in court over his "identity proof."
On the 15th of this month, the British High Court held a pre-trial hearing on Craig Wright's "Identity Issue."
According to the British court, the trial is "a trial on whether Dr. Craig Wright created the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, or Bitcoin in 2009."
Why Craig Wright was sued for "Identification"
This trial was initiated by the COPA (Crypto Open Patent Alliance). COPA is a federation of about 30 companies representing the cryptocurrency industry, such as Block, Coinbase, MicroStrategy, Kraken, Chaincode Labs, Uniswap, etc.
Meta joined COPA in January 2022. COPA claims it was was formed to lower the possibility of patent litigation related to cryptocurrency and, through this, intended to establish a free open-source development environment.
In April 2021, COPA requested a British court to declare that Dr. Wright is not Satoshi. On November 20, COPA said in an official statement, "This trial, COPA vs. Wright, is to prove that Dr. Wright’s insistence is not true that he is the author of the Bitcoin Whitepaper and consequently the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto."
The White Paper "LaTeX Files"
The key to this trial is the authenticity of the documents Dr. Wright has submitted. These documents support the historical record dating back to his creation of Bitcoin. They reportedly include tax filings with the Australian Taxation Office related to his early Bitcoin projects before 2009.
The preparations for the trial began earlier this year in 2023. Dr. Wright created and updated 107 documents to support his claims, in April 2023.
And in May 2023, COPA compiled a list of documents of questionable authenticity, according to UK High Court Judge Mellor. Forensic experts analyzed the documents and concluded that 28 of the 50 documents on COPA's list of suspected forgeries were fabricated or unreliable.
The experts also agreed that one of the MYOB (accounting program) datasets that Dr. Wright reported to show entries from 2009-2011 was created in 2020, and another MYOB dataset was created in 2023 and then backdated.
The MYOB data is important because it supports Dr. Wright’s claim that he purchased the domain name on which the Bitcoin Whitepaper was first published.
On the other hand, the recent submission of additional documents from Dr. Wright has raised a new issue: an edit (LaTeX file) of the Bitcoin Whitepaper.
The LaTeX file, hosted on a web-based document editor known as Overleaf, has garnered attention because it is known to be a pre-distribution edit of the original Bitcoin White Paper (PDF file). Judge Mellor, who presided over the trial, also noted the significance of the files.
Judge Mellor quoted the representative as saying that "the LaTeX files are unique, such that mere possession of them is evidence of authorship of the White Paper," adding that "The White Paper LaTeX files are of the highest possible importance for the trial of the identity issue."
COPA vs. Wright, what does this case mean?
This trial will be historic in several ways.
First, it will bring closure to the Satoshi controversy surrounding Dr. Wright for so long. Both sides are in a power struggle. As if to represent this, Coinbase, a major player in COPA, has announced that it will be delisting BSV on January 10, 2024.
BSV is also gearing up. In September, nChain was rocked by the revelation of internal emails (between BSV backer Calvin Ayer and Dr. Wright) by CEO Christen Ager-Hanssen, but now it seems to have regrouped, recently changing the law firm for the trial.
The trial also involves four other lawsuits involving Dr. Wright. His "identity issues" are common to all four lawsuits in which he is a claimant or defendant.
It is why the trial is being called a "joint trial." Therefore, the outcome of this trial will influence the other trials taking place around the same time. It is also included that Dr. Wright's claims against BTC Core (currently the Bitcoin Developer Group) as the copyright holder of the Bitcoin whitepaper and code.
If the trial outcome is in Dr. Wright's favor, it could have significant ramifications. If he is disclosed to be Satoshi, it would be a major vindication for BSV, which has been contesting the Bitcoin Hard Fork.
In fact, Dr. Wright has submitted a number of documents to the trial that discuss the history of Bitcoin and BSV's legitimacy as the original Bitcoin. However, Judge Mellor excluded the technicalities from consideration, stating that the trial was about "proof of identity."
The trial was originally scheduled to begin on January 15th, but Judge Mellor agreed that the defense needed time to analyze the context of the additional documents and data.
Accordingly, the judge proposed a two-week postponement of the trial examination, beginning on January 29 or February 5th and concluding on March 5-8 or March 12-15.