Australian 'bitcoin inventor' denies forging documents

An Australian computer scientist who says he invented bitcoin has told a London court he had never forged documents to try to prove his hotly-disputed claim, as he began his evidence in a legal battle over ownership of the cryptocurrency.

Craig Wright says he is the author of a 2008 white paper, the foundational text of bitcoin, published in the name "Satoshi Nakamoto".

But the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) has taken Wright to court, it says to stop him suing bitcoin developers and to preserve the open-source nature of the world's best-known and 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.

The 54-year-old began the first of six days of evidence on Tuesday at a high-stakes hearing which is the culmination of years of speculation about the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.

COPA's lawyer, Jonathan Hough, asked Wright: "Have you ever forged or falsified a document in support of your claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto?"

Wright replied: "No."

"Have you ever knowingly presented a forged or falsified document in support of your claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto?," Hough asked.

Wright replied: "I have not."

Hough 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.

COPA says the document contains a forged timestamp with numbers in visibly different fonts to make it look as if it pre-dates the bitcoin white paper.

Hough said to Wright: "This is a document forged by you as part of the origin myth."

Wright said he did not forge the document, adding: "If I forged that document, it would be perfect."

In witness statements released on Tuesday, Wright said he chose the name Satoshi after being inspired by Pokemon but that he never wanted his identity to be revealed.

In one of 11 statements in the trial, he said: "Despite adopting the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, my intention was not to shroud this identity in secrecy.

"The goal was not total anonymity but a certain level of privacy.

"This allowed me to focus on my work and ensured that the spotlight remained on the innovation and potential of bitcoin rather than the individual behind it.

"In my real life, I first shared my identity with a small circle of people."

He added: "When I initially chose the pseudonym 'Satoshi', I was drawn to its connection with the Pokemon trainer and the symbolic significance it held in other contexts.

"The unexpected disclosure of my identity as Satoshi Nakamoto had unintended consequences, drawing public attention and speculation."

Barristers representing the Australian, who moved to the UK in 2015, have said that he had the relevant skills and knowledge needed to create bitcoin and write the document which led to its founding, which he began drafting in 2007.

with PA