The case brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) against Craig ‘Faketoshi’ Wright has gone to trial in the U.K. High Court this week. COPA hopes to prove beyond doubt that “Wright’s claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto is a brazen lie, an elaborate false narrative supported by forgery on an industrial scale.”
Wright was first ‘outed’ as a potential Satoshi Nakamoto through parallel investigations by Wired and Gizmodo in December 2015, following which he was raided by the Australian police for tax evasion and virtually disappeared for six months. However, in May 2016, Wright reappeared and claimed that he was Satoshi, even convincing a number of journalists with what has since turned out to be a flawed ‘proof’.
Through a seemingly endless cycle of legal actions, Wright has both sued for libel those who have rubbished his claims, and been sued by the estate of former business partner Dave Kleiman for defrauding Kleiman out of his share of the BTC. Despite the fact that it should be a simple matter for Satoshi to prove their identity, Wright has instead provided a stream of forged documents and skewed arguments to back his assertion in court.
While none of the previous rulings found any reliable evidence to corroborate Wright’s claim, there was also no definitive judgement stating that he was not Satoshi. The COPA trial intends to rectify this situation by showing repeated use of forged documentation, lack of supporting evidence, and inconsistencies in Wright’s own testimony (and between Wright’s shape-shifting narrative and established fact).
So far, during cross-examination, Wright has tried to explain away everything that the COPA lawyers have thrown at him:
- Documents with font inconsistencies do not suggest forgery, claims Wright, but the exact opposite, as “If I had forged that document, then it would be perfect.”
- A conveniently hidden address bar in a web browser was not deliberately obscured, but a side-effect of trying to hold his phone still while operating a mouse.
- The similarity between a research paper (purportedly from 2002) and the 2008 Bitcoin White Paper, was a simple case of Wright plagiarizing himself.
- A great many documents presented by Wright as evidence to support his claim to be Satoshi have had their legitimacy questioned by his own expert witness. This prompted Wright to tell the court that his witness was not suitably qualified in IT forensics.
Yesterday, Wright was at it again, claiming that other people had forged his computer files in order to portray him as a liar. This had allegedly occurred through Reddit, email, internet forums and unauthorized computer access.
Wright even suggested that one particular document had been deliberately edited by former partner Greg Maxwell in 2016. Maxwell supposedly had the foresight to know that the document would be relied on in court years later, so took the opportunity to stitch up his former colleague in advance.
Wright’s interrogation is expected to continue until at least February 13, so even the singletons among us may have something to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. Until then, we will continue to Observe just how bizarre Wright’s counter-arguments can get.