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Will We Find Out Who Satoshi Is? London Court Could Reveal Bitcoin Founder

Last Updated January 17, 2024 11:52 AM
Josh Adams
Last Updated January 17, 2024 11:52 AM
Key Takeaways
  • Dr. Craig Wright has long claimed he is the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • However, due to a lack of conclusive proof, few in the industry believe him.
  • A trial in London may bring us closer to finding the answer.

A high-stakes legal battle is about to unfold that could reshape the very foundations of Bitcoin (BTC) and reveal the true identity of its mysterious founder. 

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright will appear at the High Court in London on February 5 as he fights to prove he is the man behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto—Bitcoin’s enigmatic creator whose creation spawned a multibillion-dollar revolution.

Wright’s Claims Are Controversial

However, Wright faces tough opposition  in court from the non-profit Crypto Open Patent Alliance  (COPA). This organization aims to definitively debunk his years-long public assertion that he is Nakamoto. The intricacies of the case have compelled the court to consolidate two separate lawsuits, thrusting the critical question around Nakamoto’s identity firmly into the spotlight.

Wright himself has long triggered skepticism within crypto circles since first claiming to be Nakamoto back in 2016, including from industry titans such as Vitalik Buterin , the founder of Ethereum (ETH). His inability to provide conclusive proof of this is what continues to fuel doubts among critics. By taking 26 blockchain developers and companies to court, including heavy-hitter exchange Coinbase, Wright raised the stakes in dramatic fashion. 

Wright also alleges copyright over the Bitcoin whitepaper, which first outlined the radical digital currency. He also claims sweeping database rights to its blockchain system.

The Australian PhD also does not take kindly to reporters inquiring about his claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto. The author, while writing for another publication, has previously asked Wright for an interview to explain his claims, for which the author was quickly blocked on Twitter (now X).

COPA views  its high-profile lawsuit as upholding the wider public interest by seeking to protect Bitcoin’s open-source ethos. Formed to guard cryptocurrencies against restrictive patents, the alliance believes debunking Wright’s identity claim will provide more certainty and safety for the volunteer developers that have spent years meticulously building up Bitcoin’s ecosystem.

Wright and COPA’s witnesses will endure six grueling days of cross-examination over his documents, credibility and backstory. Acclaimed experts in digital forensics and cryptocurrencies will be summoned to parse finer technical points. Oral closing submissions are due to take place from March 12 to 15.

Wright Allegedly Found New Supporting Evidence

Wright, who founded the Bitcoin SV (BSV) crypto, surprised the court in December by asserting he recently discovered 97 documents amounting to new supporting evidence on USB drives. He allegedly discovered them  in a drawer at his house on September 15 2023.

Wright’s legal team, initially slow to disclose details, faced criticism from the opposing counsel who questioned the authenticity and demanded access to forensic images. Amid allegations of forgery, Wright’s counsel changed and suggested narrower keyword searches for document review. 

His counsel then proposed a trial adjournment to incorporate the new evidence, leading to a complex pre-trial debate over the evidence’s validity and trial scheduling. In the end, few observers of the proceedings expect these discoveries to hold much weight.

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