UK judge rules Craig Wright is not Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist who has long claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, is not the cryptocurrency's inventor, according to a ruling by UK Judge James Mellor. The decision, delivered at the close of a six-week trial in the UK High Court, marks the end of Wright's years-long campaign to be recognized as the founder of the world's largest digital asset, as reported by Wired and CoinDesk.

The trial was brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a nonprofit consortium of crypto companies seeking to prevent Wright from claiming intellectual property rights over Bitcoin. Throughout the proceedings, COPA's legal counsel argued that Wright had fabricated evidence and changed his story as new inconsistencies emerged. Wired reports that Jonathan Hough, COPA's lead attorney, stated during his closing submissions, "After all the evidence in this remarkable trial, it is clear beyond doubt that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto."

Judge Mellor found the evidence to be "overwhelming" and announced his intention to write a ruling declaring that Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper, the creator of the Bitcoin system, or the person who operated under the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym between 2008 and 2011.

Judge Mellor stated:

I will make certain declarations which I am satisfied are useful and are necessary to do justice between the parties.

First, that Dr Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin White Paper.

Second, Dr Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011.

Third, Dr Wright is not the person who created the Bitcoin System. And, fourth, he is not the author of the initial versions of the Bitcoin software.

Any further relief will be dealt with in my written judgment. I will extend time for filing any appellant's notice until 21 days after the form of order hearing, which will be appointed following the hand down of my written judgment and I ask the parties to seek to agree an order giving effect to what I have just stated.

The question many people are asking is, given the many times Wright has sworn in court that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, will he be prosecuted for perjury? From Wikipedia:

In May 2019, Wright started using English libel law to sue people who accused him of lying about being the inventor of bitcoin, and who called him a fraud. Wright also served legal notices to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the cryptocurrency Ethereum, who called Wright a fraud; Roger Ver, an early bitcoin entrepreneur and advocate; and Peter McCormack, a podcaster. Wright ended up dropping his lawsuit against Buterin by letting it expire.

In the case against McCormack, the High Court judge was not asked to decide whether Wright is Satoshi, as by the time of the trial McCormack was not defending his statements on the basis that they were true, but as the judge found Wright "not to be a witness of truth" who had "advanced a deliberately false case and put forward deliberately false evidence until days before trial" he awarded him only £1 in damages.

In June 2019, Wright filed a libel lawsuit in the UK against a Norwegian Bitcoin user, Marcus Granath, known on social media as "Hodlonaut". Granath, who has stated that Wright is not Nakamoto, then filed a lawsuit against Wright in Norway in order to provide legal corroboration for his assertions; in October 2022, the Norwegian court decided in Granath's favor.

See also: Craig Wright wins default copyright judgment in U.K. over bitcoin white paper (2021)