Self-described Bitcoin founder (aka, Satoshi Nakamoto) Craig Wright has failed to persuade a U.K. High Court judge that he has enough money to pay for potential legal expenses in his lawsuit against cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Kraken, in the most recent court case in the ongoing Satoshi Nakamoto identity controversy.
Wright is suing the exchanges for trademark infringement, claiming that the term “Bitcoin” cannot be used by the exchanges for assets like BTC and BCH that supposedly depart from his original system since he owns the rights to the name.
The Hon. Mr. Justice Mellor ordered Wright’s company Wright International Investments Ltd (WII), to provide security deposits of £250,000 and £150,000 for the legal fees of Coinbase and Kraken, respectively, in a preliminary ruling.
The judge, however, decided against issuing the same injunction against Wright directly, stating:
“I was not satisfied by the evidence from the Cs filed in support of the contention that C2 [WII] was resident in the UK or that (assuming such residence) it has any degree of permanence. The nature of whatever business C2 has conducted or does conduct was also obscure.”
He claimed that the data painted an “obscure picture” regarding the ownership of the Bitcoin assets to which Wright had easy access. Ultimately, the judge found that the evidence did not “provide any reassurance that either C2 or C1 [Wright] has or will have funds to pay costs.”
Craig Wright’s alleged identification as Satoshi and his ownership of early Bitcoin mining rewards continue to raise questions, even as the lawsuit covers sophisticated subjects like trademark law and blockchain immutability.
Finally, rather than on the plaintiffs to show he had money, the burden was on Wright to present convincing proof of his ability to pay expenses, which the judge found he failed to do.
The evidence Wright presented in response to the defendant’s request for security for costs was neither convincing nor satisfying to the judge.
Justice Mellor issued some important decisions that will determine how Wright’s Bitcoin trademark proceedings will develop in the future, in addition to requiring Wright’s business to pay security deposits.
The judge ruled that Wright’s claims of intellectual property infringement against Coinbase and Kraken should be put on hold pending the resolution of a previous case, Crypto Open Patent Alliance v. Craig Steven Wright, which will determine whether or not Wright is actually Satoshi Nakamoto. Mellor predicted that Wright’s trademark cases would also be lost if he lost the crucial identification issue.
Wright’s trademark claims against the exchanges can still go on, though, if he is recognized as the author of Bitcoin and wins the case.
Wright’s legal campaign is largely dependent on him establishing his identity as Satoshi, the enigmatic creator of the first cryptocurrency in the world, in light of the judge’s complex set of findings.
Australian computer scientist Dr. Craig Steven Wright has a long history of working with the Satoshi Nakamoto alias.
After Wired and Gizmodo’s studies, rumors that Wrights created Bitcoin first began to spread in 2015. Shortly after publishing the article, Wired claimed that Wright might have fabricated evidence linking him to Nakamoto.
Since then, Dave Kleiman and Hal Finney have been credited with helping Wright write the Bitcoin whitepaper, according to Wright himself.
Many do not believe Wright’s assertions that he contributed to the creation of Bitcoin, despite his continued insistence on this point.
According to skeptics, the real Satoshi Nakamoto might authenticate their identity by sending a message that was validated with Nakamoto’s PGP key. Since 2010, there have been no public messages that have been independently authenticated.
Wright attempted to assert ownership of the copyrights on the Bitcoin file format, the Bitcoin whitepaper, and some of the Bitcoin database in 2019. But he hasn’t had much luck thus far.
For instance, the U.S. Copyright Office rejected Wright’s arguments and asserted that no one could file a Bitcoin copyright.
In a press release then published, it stated:
“In a case in which a work is registered under a pseudonym, the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.”
Wright prevailed in a legal battle with the owner of bitcoin.org in 2021. Wright was ordered to pay Wright’s legal fees and remove the Bitcoin white paper hosted on the anonymous operator, Cobra’s website.
However, the court only decided in Wright’s favor by default since Cobra failed to provide a defense, thus, his triumph was primarily symbolic. Without a court order, defendants in the UK are not permitted to make an anonymous legal argument.
Nakamoto’s white paper is still publicly accessible on the bitcoin.org website. It is uncertain if Cobra ever paid the court-ordered legal fees.
Wright tried to claim ownership of the Bitcoin copyrights once more in 2022.
In the complaint, a group of defendants is listed who are called “Bitcoin Core.” Wright claims that 25 people and companies together run the Bitcoin network, and their names are published as members. These include several well-known Bitcoin developers in addition to organizations like Block Inc, Chaincode, and Coinbase.
Judge Edward James Mellor first denied the claim. Even if Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, according to Judge Mellor, he has not adequately identified a particular “work” that would be covered by a copyright claim.
A court of appeals reversed the earlier verdict this week, though.
Trial in the lawsuit is currently anticipated to begin in early 2024. Wright is, nevertheless a long way from victory.
The Court of Appeal rejected Wright’s appeal in a separate libel case brought against podcaster Peter McCormack, a new development.
McCormack tweeted that the courts affirmed Justice Chamberlain’s decision to lower Wright’s libel damages to just £1 after determining that he presented “deliberately false” evidence throughout the proceedings.