The trial of Craig Wright, an Australian who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, against an organization in the industry that accuses him of fraud, opened on Monday in London under the eyes of the entire cryptosphere.
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The 53-year-old computer scientist and entrepreneur, brown-haired, wearing a striped suit with a line drawing and a strong build, was impassive to his defense and listened with satisfaction to the preliminary presentation led by the opposing party and a players' association representing the sector.
The eccentric businessman, who describes himself on his website as a “mathematician” and a “pastor,” among other names, sometimes wore a confident expression while playing games on his phone or raising his eyebrows as he watched documents dissected on the big screen.
He will be questioned for six days starting Tuesday. For nearly a month and a half, Britain's Supreme Court will work to determine whether Craig Wright wrote the “White Paper,” a text about the creation of Bitcoin published in October 2008 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
The one nicknamed “Faketoshi” (for “fake Satoshi”) by his critics claims copyright to this founding document as well as the code of this cryptocurrency.
“A large number of people from all over the world have requested access to this process,” noted Judge James Mellor, also pointing out that he had received an email on Saturday evening from a person also claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto .
Mr. Wright faces today the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (Copa), an association that aims to eliminate patents on cryptocurrency-related technologies, and industry heavyweights such as exchange platform Coinbase and digital specialist Block brings together payments and was founded by Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter.
“A confabulator” who presented “a blatant lie”: This is how the opposing party's lawyers present Mr. Wright and accuse him of forging and manipulating documents that he presented to prove his statements.
Copa filed a lawsuit in April 2021 to ask a judge to declare that Mr. Wright was not the author of Bitcoin's founding text, thereby ending his intellectual property rights claims.
“Over a period of almost ten years, (Mr Wright) was put under intense pressure to prove that he was Satoshi Nakamoto, but repeatedly failed,” said Jonathan Hough KC, one of the lawyers representing Copa.
In the documents presented by Mr. Wright, he states that the software used is not the same as the software that allowed experts from both parties to write the original “white paper” and that there are traces of the use of artificial intelligence in conversational ChatGPT.
Copa's lawyer also expressed doubts about the accidental discovery of a hard drive containing additional evidence late last year.
“Copa was unable to provide any direct evidence that Dr. Wright is not Satoshi,” replied his lawyer Anthony Grabiner KC, denying that the documents presented were forged and taking the exact opposite opinion of the opposing party.
According to him, for example, the use of remote virtual machines explains inconsistencies in change dates in certain documents.
Citing his client's educational and professional background, he emphasized that “the creator of Bitcoin would inevitably have these or similar talents” in law, monetary transactions and computer science.
The outcome of that case will determine that of another pitting Mr. Wright against 26 developers, individuals and companies like the Coinbase platform, that he accuses of violating his intellectual property rights.
In another case, a company owned by Mr. Wright, Seychelles-based Tulip Trading, filed a lawsuit against the Bitcoin Association and several developers, demanding that they give him access to billions of dollars in bitcoin that he claims he owns to own.
Bitcoin is now the largest cryptocurrency by capitalization and introduced the principle of blockchain – a kind of large decentralized ledger in which all cryptocurrency transactions are recorded – and popularized digital currencies.