A computer scientist says he’s the mystery creator of bitcoin. A London judge aims to find the truth

A computer scientist says he’s the mystery creator of bitcoin. A London judge aims to find the truth

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LONDON — One of the cryptocurrency industry’s enduring mysteries took center stage Tuesday in a London court, where a trial could finally resolve the debate over the identity of bitcoin’s founder.

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright took the witness stand in the High Court and testified that he was the man behind “Satoshi Nakamoto”, the pseudonym that has masked the identity of the creator of bitcoin.

Wright has long claimed that he is Nakamoto. A nonprofit group of technology and cryptocurrency companies is trying to prove that’s not the case. The trial began Monday and is expected to last a month, before a judge rules at a later date.

“Wright’s claim to be Satoshi is a lie, based on an elaborate false narrative supported by industrial-scale document falsification,” attorney Jonathan Hough said on behalf of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) at the start of the trial. “As his false documents and inconsistencies were exposed, he resorted to more forgeries and increasingly implausible excuses.”

What is at stake is not only the right to brag about creation, but also control of intellectual property rights.

Wright has used his claim as the inventor of bitcoin to file litigation to steer developers away from further developing the open source technology, the alliance claims in its lawsuit. The ruling will affect three pending lawsuits Wright has filed based on his claim to own the intellectual property rights to bitcoin.

“Wright has threatened to bankrupt the developers, sent notices of his intention to sue, and, in fact, engaged in scorched earth litigation against these volunteers, all based on the baseless claim that he is the founder of bitcoin,” the alliance said Monday. in a sentence.

Bitcoin’s murky origins date back to the height of the 2008 financial crisis. An article written by a person or group using the pseudonym Nakamoto explained how the digital currency could be sent around the world anonymously, without banks or national currencies. . Nakamoto seemed to disappear three years later.

Speculation about the true identity swirled for years and several candidates’ names emerged when Wright first emerged to claim the identity in 2016, only to quickly return to the shadows, saying he did not “have the courage” to provide further evidence. .

Wright claimed in court Tuesday that he created the technology and the cryptic identity behind it, which he said was based on his admiration for Japanese culture. She said the name was a combination of the surname of philosopher Tominaga Nakamoto and Satoshi David, a figure from a book about American tycoon JP Morgan and a Pokémon character.

He said he didn’t want the creator to be anonymous, so he used an alias to protect his privacy.

“This allowed me to focus on my work and ensured that the focus remained on the innovation and potential of bitcoin rather than the individual behind it,” he said.

Defense lawyer Anthony Grabiner said the alliance had not presented positive evidence that Wright was not Satoshi, and only sought to undermine the authenticity of the documents it relied on to prove he is the creator.

“It is surprising that no one else has credibly claimed the mantle of Satoshi, despite the high-profile nature of Dr. Wright’s claim to be Satoshi,” Grabiner said. “If Dr. Wright were not Satoshi, the real Satoshi would have been expected to come forward to counter the claim.”

While Wright managed to convince several influential bitcoin enthusiasts that he was the real deal by demonstrating the use of Nakamoto’s secret bitcoin keys, other crypto experts said they debunked his claims. Despite widespread skepticism in the cryptocurrency community, it has prevailed in court cases.

In 2021, he won a civil case in Florida against the family of a deceased business partner who claimed he was owed half of the 1.1 million bitcoins, worth approximately £37.7 billion (47.5 billion dollars) today, which could only be owned by one person or entity. involved with the digital currency since its inception, as the creator.

Wright and other cryptocurrency experts testified at trial that he owned the bitcoin in question. His lawyers claimed that, while he had collaborated with his deceased friend, David Kleiman, his association had nothing to do with the creation or initial operation of Bitcoin.

Because all bitcoin transactions are public, members of the bitcoin community have regularly asked Wright to move only a fraction of the coins to prove ownership. Wright appears to have never done so, despite promising to prove that he is the owner of the fortune.

At the London trial, Hough repeatedly argued with Wright over the authenticity of documents he claimed supported his claims.

Hough said the original white paper on the creation of bitcoin was written in OpenOffice software and that experts on both sides agreed that Wright presented a version created in software called LaTeX, which did not exist when the document was written.

Hough suggested that the misaligned numbers on the document behind the “origin myth” were signs that it had been forged.

“If I falsified that document, it would be perfect,” said Wright, who will have to testify for another five days.

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