The Bitcoin white paper was published under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and it became the first digital currency launched in 2009. Since then, the world has been trying to uncover the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.
In 2015, Dr. Craig S. Wright was revealed—and not with his permission—as the man behind the famous pseudonym. Since then, he has faced criticisms and harassment alleging that he is a fraud. And blogger and podcaster Peter McCormack had a huge hand in the defamation of Dr. Wright’s identity as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Because Dr. Wright would rather fight libelous acts in court, he filed a suit in the UK High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division against McCormack in April 2019, citing 15 defamatory publications made against him by the defendant through tweets and a YouTube video.
After a three-day trial that ended on May 25, 2022, the Wright v McCormack verdict is finally out. And it is a victory for Dr. Wright on all counts.
The Defamatory Publications
The 14 tweets in evidence show McCormack’s disparaging statements that include repeated versions of: “Craig Wright is not Satoshi”; “Craig Wright is a fraud”; “I believe Craig Wright to be a con man”; and “BSV is a fake Bitcoin run by frauds.”
Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) McCormack referred to is the implementation that resulted in the second fork that occurred in Bitcoin. It is committed to realizing the original design of Bitcoin and is the implementation supported by Dr. Wright. The BSV Blockchain is currently the largest public blockchain equipped to scale limitlessly in order to meet the increasing data demands of the world.
The YouTube video being pertained to the suit, referred to in the High Court Approved Judgment as Publication 16 is the one hosted by Hotep Jesus on October 18, 2019, which is a video discussion composed of McCormack, Kurt Wuckert Jr., Connor Murray and someone known as Shinobi.
“Craig Wright is a fucking liar, and he’s a fraud; and he’s a moron. He is not Satoshi. He can come at me in the fucking UK; he can take me to Court; he can come with his—his fucking billions of dollars. I don’t give a shit, come at me. Sue me, I don’t give a fuck. You’re still a liar; you’re still a fraud; and you’re still a moron,” McCormack was quoted as saying in the YouTube video in question.
It is important to note that this YouTube video was recorded after Dr. Wright has already filed his defamation case, demonstrating that McCormack has not been deterred by a lawsuit in making libelous claims against Dr. Wright’s person—explicitly and repeatedly calling him a “fraud” and even a “moron.”
Wright v McCormack
The Wright v McCormack suit has been controversial and garnering attention for three years now. First, McCormack tweeted, “Craig Wright is not Satoshi! When do I get sued?” Then, he tried to delay the High Court process of discovery, which is the turning in of evidence. For this delay, McCormack has been fined £18,500.
After discovery has gone forward, McCormack then tweeted that “Craig Wright submitted a crazy amount of evidence that he is Satoshi in my lawsuit.” This prompted him and his legal team to abandon the truth defense, meaning he has admitted that all of his tweets claiming that Dr. Wright is a fraud are false.
It appeared that the amount of evidence presented by Dr. Wright and his legal counsel also overwhelmed stablecoin Tether, McCormack’s financial backer, which had withdrawn its support of the defendant at this time.
But withdrawing the truth defense may have been a strategic decision for McCormack as it also means that the trial will focus on whether or not his defamatory statements caused serious harm to Dr. Wright and his reputation, shifting the burden of proof to the claimant.
Despite said withdrawal, McCormack’s legal team still tried to introduce evidence that supported the truth defense, which the High Court rejected. For attempting to present evidence attacking Dr. Wright’s credibility again, McCormack has been fined an additional £90,000.
The UK High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division has released its verdict on August 1, stating that The Honorable Mr Justice Chamberlain found that “Mr McCormack is responsible for the re-publication of Publication 16 by the posting of the recording on YouTube”; and “Each of Publications 1-10 and 12-16 caused serious harm to the reputation of Dr Wright.” Publication 11 is not included as the complaint has been withdrawn for it.
The High Court has found McCormack guilty of defamation on all 15 publications and that it caused serious harm to Dr. Wright’s reputation. Justice Chamberlain has deemed it necessary for McCormack to pay £1 to Dr. Wright in nominal damages. For McCormack and his supporters, paying this insignificant amount seems to be a win.
£100,000 in fines plus interest before the verdict was even released. He also lost the support of Tether before the trial even started. Moreover, there is a high probability that Dr. Wright will appeal the nominal damages set by Justice Chamberlain.
Dr. Wright, on the other hand, has again been vindicated as the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and the real author of the Bitcoin white paper. Winning the trial and showing the world that he will not back down when people make libelous claims against him will also serve to keep potential harassers at bay.
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