An Australian-born computer scientist who claims he is the mysterious bitcoin inventor known as Satoshi Nakamoto was grilled Tuesday by an attorney for a Jack Dorsey-backed group of cryptocurrency creators who have accused him of an elaborate hoax.
Craig Wright insisted in a London court that he is the author of a 2008 white paper — considered the foundational text of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — published under the Nakamoto pseudonym as he was pressed by a lawyer for the Crypto Open Patent Alliance.
The group — a nonprofit consortium of crypto and tech firms whose members include Twitter founder Dorsey’s payments firm Block — says Wright has never provided any genuine proof that he authored the white paper, accusing him of repeatedly forging documents to support his claim.
With Wright on the stand, COPA lawyer Jonathan Hough asked: “Have you ever forged or falsified a document in support of your claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto?”
Wright replied: “No.”
Hough continued: “Have you ever knowingly presented a forged or falsified document in support of your claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto?”
Wright replied: “I have not.”
Hough then put numerous alleged forgeries to Wright, including an academic paper with handwritten notes, which Wright has claimed prompted his decision to use the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
Wright shot back: “If I forged that document, it would be perfect.”
The five-week hearing, which began Monday, is the culmination of years of speculation about the true identity of Satoshi.
Wright has filed lawsuits against dozens of cryptocurrency creators over the years, alleging that they refused to help him retrieve billions of dollars worth of bitcoin that he claims is rightfully his.
COPA lodged its complaint against Wright in order to prevent him from continuing to sue bitcoin developers and to preserve the open-source nature of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.
COPA is asking London’s High Court to rule that Wright is not Satoshi.
It says he has repeatedly forged documents to substantiate his claim before changing his story when the alleged fabrications are spotted.
Wright, however, denies relying on fake records and has blamed others, including former lawyers and associates, for any inauthentic documents.
He has insisted that he is the owner of 1.1 million bitcoins, which would put his net worth somewhere at around $47.4 billion.
In 2022, a Florida federal court awarded $143 million to the estate of Wright’s former business partner, the late David Kleiman, after a jury found that Wright took bitcoin-related intellectual property rights like source code that belonged to the partnership.
Wright has long claimed that Kleiman was involved in the invention of bitcoin. Kleiman died in April 2013.
Kleiman’s estate unsuccessfully sued Wright in an attempt to win the rights to between 550,000 and 1.1 million bitcoins which it claims was defrauded.
The estate sought billions worth of bitcoin, but a jury awarded $100 million in damages.
With Post Wires