A trial in the UK is underway to verify the claims of an individual asserting to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous founder of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
About the defendant: On Feb. 6, Australian computer scientist Craig Wright testified at the High Court to assert that he created Bitcoin under the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto,” reported the Associated Press. Wright has made the claim since 2016, saying that he used a pseudonym to keep the public’s focus on Bitcoin's innovation rather than his personal identity.
While his past demonstration of using Nakamoto's secret Bitcoin keys managed to convince some crypto enthusiasts, his claim faced scrutiny from experts, who argued these keys had been compromised.
About the trial: The trial, which started on Feb. 5, stems from a lawsuit filed in 2021 by tech consortium Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), seeking a court’s decision that would undermine Wright's claims.
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“Wright’s claim to be Satoshi is a lie, founded on an elaborate false narrative backed by forgery of documents on an industrial scale,” COPA’s lawyer Jonathan Hough said at the start of the trial on Monday. “As his false documents and inconsistencies have been exposed, he has resorted to further forgery and ever more implausible excuses.”
Behind the case: The court's ruling, which could come shortly after the trial's conclusion in a month, is expected to impact control over Bitcoin's intellectual property rights. According to COPA, Wright’s recent intellectual property lawsuits have pushed developers away and stunted the development of Bitcoin.
“Wright has threatened to bankrupt developers, sent notices of his intent to sue, and has, in fact, engaged in scorched earth litigation against these volunteers, all premised on the baseless assertion that he is the founder of Bitcoin,” COPA said in a statement.
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The mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto: In 2014, Newsweek identified California-based engineer Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto as the real founder. He vehemently denied the claim, and further investigation revealed no concrete evidence to support it.
Computer scientist Hal Finney, who received the first Bitcoin transaction and was an early adopter of the technology, also denied being Nakamoto.
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