Australian businessman Craig Wright, infamous for two separate stints in the limelight as the self-proclaimed creator of bitcoin is reportedly pressing ahead in filing a number of patent applications related to blockchain technology, bitcoin’s underlying innovation.
According to a Reuters investigative report published today, Craig Wright is filing scores of blockchain-related patents with the backing of fugitive online gambling billionaire Calvin Ayre, a Canadian national who now lives in Antigua.
“Wright’s expertise combined with Ayre’s support makes a potentially formidable force in shaping the future of bitcoin and blockchain,” the Reuters report reads, giving some credence to Wright’s claim of being bitcoin’s inventor.
CCN reported on Wright’s intention to own a massive number of bitcoin- and blockchain-related patents in mid-2016. His backers, who wrote-off $15 million in debt amassed in Craig Wright’s companies, were convinced that he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin. Craig Wright was their golden goose and the patents, they believed, would fetch them billions from big corporations. These backers have now been revealed as associates of Ayre, according to today’s report.
Wright and Ayre’s associates prepared dozens of patents with each invention specifically detailing how blockchain could transform financial, social, legal or medical services.
According to the Reuters report, Wright and his associates have, so far, lodged over 70 blockchain applications with more in the pipeline, according to Reuters, who reviewed relevant documents and emails.
The patent applications filed by Wright, according to one patents expert Justin Hill with London-based law firm Olswang, is the single largest filing of bitcoin-related intellectual property the firm has seen.
Reuters cites a source with direct knowledge of Wright’s businesses to claim that Wright ultimately aim to file nearly 400 patents related to blockchain applications in a number of industries.
Wright, Online Gambling and Bitcoin?
The Reuters report points to documents it reviewed, revealing Wright’s links to gambling “going back decades”.
The report then inexplicably adds “that bitcoin grew out of code originally developed with gambling in mind”, stating:
'Early bitcoin code, seen by Reuters and analyzed by a computer coding consultant with no ties to Wright or any blockchain-related project, contains unimplemented functions related to poker.'
The investigative report reveals an excerpt from an unpublished paper written by Wright from November 2015, suggesting that Wright’s vision, as ‘bitcoin’s creator’, transcended online gambling.
An excerpt from the paper, which Reuters also reviewed, read:
The bitcoin blockchain can be scaled up to replace all existing payment system networks to become the world’s single economic infrastructure.
Wright filed over 50 patent applications in Britain through an Antigua-based entity called EITC Holdings Ltd, last year. All of the applications contained the terms “blockchain” or “distributed ledger”.
Meanwhile, today’s investigative report has further revealed that Wright had planned to urge the government of Antigua to adopt bitcoin as its official currency. The publication cites a review of presentation slides and on overview document to this planned presentation, with no word on whether the proposal was made by Wright to the government.
“Bitcoin is not just a currency,” Wright reportedly wrote in the proposal. “It’s a new backbone and commercial foundation for the internet.”
The Wright Saga
Wright first shot to mainstream prominence after reports from Gizmodo and Wired speculated that the entrepreneur could be Satoshi Nakamoto. Wired included a disclaimer. Either Wright really did bitcoin as Satoshi Nakamoto or, “he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly want us to believe he did.” The same day, the Australian Federal Police raided Wright’s home in a Sydney suburb. A statement from the law enforcement agency revealed the raid was tax-related and was unrelated to reports that he was bitcoin’s inventor.
The Australian businessman, who now resides in Britain is reportedly working for ‘The Workshop Technologies’, which, along with ‘The Workshop Ventures’ were two companies incorporated in Britain with Robert MacGregor, a Canadian associate of Ayre’s.
MacGregor, who is the director of the two companies, is also Wright’s boss and led the publicity campaign of pushing Wright into the limelight with the claim of bitcoin’s inventor in May 2016. Despite the backing of bitcoin core developer Gavin Andresen at the time, skepticism remained about Wright’s claim. The backlash led to Wright claiming that he would move bitcoins from an early block as “extraordinary proof” to validate his claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto. The claim never materialized.
A day later, Andresen admitted that he was wrong to claim that Wright was Satoshi.
Three days after a whirlwind media tour that involved Wright coming out as Satoshi Nakamoto to the BBC, the Economist and GQ magazine, he stepped away from the spotlight in a note that began with “I’m Sorry” and ended with “goodbye.”
The latest 'revelation' with Craig Wright's claimed involvement with bitcoin comes at a time when the cryptocurrency is flourishing unlike ever before, breaking through all-time highs while exceeding parity with gold.
Featured image from BBC News.