Craig Wright Lied In UK Court: Judge Imposes $7.6M Asset Freeze

The UK High Court makes a ruling to freeze Craig Wright’s assets worth £6 million after he claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

TakeAway Points:

  • According to UK Judge James Mellor, Craig Wright’s allegation that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, was based mostly on lies.
  • With support from Jack Dorsey and Coinbase, the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) prevailed in the lawsuit, requesting injunctions against Wright.
  • Wright’s assets valued at $7.6 million were placed under a global freezing order to pay COPA’s legal fees.

Claims made by Craig Wright Disproved

The UK High Court has ruled in a landmark decision that Craig Wright, the self-described founder of Bitcoin, lied “extensively and repeatedly” in an effort to establish his identity as the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto. In his written ruling, which was released on May 20, 2024, Judge James Mellor found that Wright purposefully produced fake documents to back up his allegations. This decision comes after a six-week trial that was called by a group of cryptocurrency companies called the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), with the goal of stopping Wright from pursuing legal action against other parties, including Bitcoin developers.

Judge Mellor’s judgement stated, “Dr. Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011. Dr. Wright is not the person who created the Bitcoin system. And he is not the author of the initial versions of the Bitcoin software.” The judge further stated, “I am entirely satisfied that Dr. Wright lied to the Court extensively and repeatedly. All his lies and forged documents were in support of his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.”

Financial and Legal Consequences

Wright will be significantly impacted financially and legally by the decision. Judge Mellor placed a worldwide freezing order on Wright’s assets in March, worth £6 million ($7.6 million), to prevent him from moving them abroad or avoiding paying the costs associated with the COPA trial. At the time, COPA’s case costs came to £6.7 million. Supported by prominent individuals like Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, the group has declared that it will file multiple injunctions to stop Wright from claiming to be Nakamoto and suing Bitcoin developers in court once more. In addition, COPA can ask UK authorities to file a perjury prosecution against Wright for remarks he made throughout the trial.

Paul Grewal, chief legal officer at Coinbase, commented on the ruling, stating, “Dr. Wright’s claims were shown not only to be false but utterly fanciful.” He added, “We’ve seen a cascading effect from the pronouncement on a host of other litigations globally. For people outside of crypto, [all this] might sound cartoonish. But with Wright’s claims falling by the wayside, the community can exhale. We think it’s a real win.”

Effect on Satoshi Vision for Bitcoin (BSV)

Wright’s 2018 creation of Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), a distinct cryptocurrency network, has also been significantly impacted by the decision. According to its website, BSV aimed to “as closely as possible” follow Satoshi’s original design. The market’s response to Wright’s assertions being refuted was reflected in the BSV token’s 40% decline in value in the days that followed the judge’s decision.

The judgment’s ramifications go beyond its short-term financial effects, though. It guarantees that Wright cannot “threaten [developers] with copyrights or database rights deriving from the work done by Satoshi Nakamoto,” as Judge Mellor put it, and it stops him from filing more litigation in the UK.

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