back to article Bitcoin 'inventor' will face forgery claims over his Satoshi Nakamoto proof, rules High Court

A man who claims to be the secret inventor of Bitcoin has failed in a legal bid to throw out a High Court lawsuit saying he's talking tosh – and will be accused of forging proof he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Craig Wright (for it is he) did not succeed in his attempt to have parts of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)'s case …

  1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
    Devil

    Old Nicknames

    To claim an old used nickname for which all real and imaginary agencies on earth would be going after to sue / kill / interrogate / seize assets is so unreal, that most likely, it is a publicity stunt.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Old Nicknames

      1.1 million Bitcoins was a lot of money when they were first created, once they were up and running, whoever was first creating them could have probably brought a nice used car if we had believed that they would become more valuable - but initially nobody thought they were worth anything and so selling them was doing nothing serious initially.

      LOL, I know someone who bought 100 bitcoins back then and I thought she was an idiot - that was my stupid mistake these days.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Old Nicknames

        Missing a "n't" ?

      2. Ian 55

        Re: Old Nicknames

        Anyone who bought them "back then" probably lost the keys or lost the planet-destroying useless currency in an exchange hack / 'hack'.

      3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Old Nicknames

        "I thought she was an idiot - that was my stupid mistake these days."

        It wasn't a mistake, she was an idiot. Apparently a lucky idiot, but it's not wrong to e.g. tell someone they have a vanishingly small chance of winning the lottery, even if they subsequently get lucky and win.

      4. Jaybus

        Re: Old Nicknames

        Yes. It was always a pyramid scam. And in all such scams, the early "investors" are rewarded in order to propagate the belief in its value.

        1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

          Re: Old Nicknames

          No, it wasn't a pyramid scam as such, more what we who have connections with the horse racing and bookmaking industry call "A donkey with a wooden leg".

          It is well known that every so often, one such complete donkey will win a race, but it is also very well known that this is a rare eventuality and not one to be relied upon for anything at all. By all means bet pennies on silly bets, but don't put your life savings onto it.

          Also, disregard the various millionaires' tips on how to get rich. Mostly millionaires simply got lucky and were sharp enough to capitalise on their good fortune. About the only extremely rich individual who got to where he is by sheer slog would be Warren Buffet, who has dedicated his life to investing money.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Old Nicknames

            About the only extremely rich individual who got to where he is by sheer slog would be Warren Buffet, who has dedicated his life to investing money.

            Hmmmm, not so. In my opinion the world's greatest inside trader. Do major companies allow you to look through their books and deepest darkest cupboards at your behest before investing i.e. non-public information? No. Warren does though.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Old Nicknames

              Errr...yes, actually. It's completely standard practice for m&a. Cf. Due Diligence. Cf. Deal Room.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Old Nicknames

      I agree it's almost certainly a publicity stunt, but I don't think anyone would do the things you claim.

      "all real and imaginary agencies on earth would be going after to sue / kill / interrogate / seize assets"

      Why? The only one I could see here is seize assets, just because they'd be worth a lot of money (temporarily). What would they sue about? Uses of Bitcoin are the responsibility of those who did them, and they're already being prosecuted all the time. What questions would they want answered? Bitcoin's workings are already public, well-understood, and controlled by others. And why would anyone be so motivated as to kill them? It takes time and resources to do any of those things. I'm not seeing a benefit.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Old Nicknames

        If he was Satoshi he has $$$$Bn. So everybody is going to sue him because there will be a lawyer or jurisdiction somewhere wanting to try the odds. Just think of all the SEC / banking regulations he might have have broken times the number of countries with an SEC.

        Somebody could be motivated to kill him after they had cut off sufficient fingers and toes to incentivize him to cough up the private keys.

      2. xyz123

        Re: Old Nicknames

        1.1 million BTC is 46,200,000,000 at todays prices. 46.2 BILLION US Dollars.

        You think people wouldn't try to sue him (government taxes), claim he violated their copyright (damages) or just try to kidnap him to steal the private key and nab the BTC itself (Russia/China/Switzerland/NK etc) ?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Old Nicknames

          No, I don't think they would do that. The tax issue is easy enough, as shown by existing governmental tax policy toward cryptocurrency. Whoever controlled that key hasn't sold any from that chunk, thus no gains to be taxed.

          There's no copyright available to be claimed. The code wrote for Bitcoin was released a long time ago and is completely public. We know what it says. Anyone who was going to claim copyright would have made their allegations a while ago. They would almost certainly lose now even if they had written it, and they didn't.

          As for a government kidnapping him to take the money, no, they won't do that. A criminal organization maybe, but even they would probably know how unlikely it is to work. If any Bitcoin is sold from this account, it will be immediately noticed and could trigger a collapse in the price because that's 5% of the supply right there. The United States can spend trillions of dollars whenever they want to, so they're not going to kidnap someone for fifty billion. North Korea might want to, but their thefts in real currencies already dwarf this one, so they have better targets.

          1. Manx Cat

            Re: Old Nicknames

            He should be presented with the ELECTRICITY bill for all this wankage.

            Fools and their money....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Old Nicknames

            Ah, you haven't seen the current (US) administration's tax on gains on held assets tax they're allegedly going to propose... No sale? Then they'll treat it like property and tax it anyway.

        3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Old Nicknames

          There's a difference between current market value and price fetched if a massive seller dumps everything at once.

        4. Dr Dan Holdsworth
          FAIL

          Re: Old Nicknames

          https://xkcd.com/538/

          If I were him, I'd be looking to turn some of those Bitcoin billions into proper money simply because there are lots and lots and lots of people in this world who will not hesitate to use torture to acquire billions, and also subsequently use the concrete overshoe method of disposing of the superfluous bodies.

          I am not one of them, BTW, nor am I rich nor a cryptocurrency investor.

  2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    He didn't invent it, I did!

    I also invented email, HTML, computers, electricity, breathable oxygen, and the Primordial Soup.

    As soon as folks start paying me royalties like they're supposed to, I'll be rich, RICH I tell you!

    *Head thrown back, hands clasping jiggling belly, Doctor Evil style maniacal laughter*

    =-)p

    *Inserts the sarcasm tag for those with an insufficiently developed sense of sarcasm*

    1. Satoshi Nakamoto
      Angel

      Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

      No you didn't. I did!

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

        No I'm the inventor.... and so's my wife

      2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

        Nuh uh, I did! The VoicesInMyHead assure me it's true!

        *Cookie Monster's a sack of DriedFrogPills*

        Mmmmm... Crunchy, just like sanity!

        1. cookieMonster

          Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

          Leave me out of this

      3. Qarumba
        Alien

        Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

        I am Spartacus!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

          ...and MY axe!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

        I am Spartacus.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

      You better be telling the truth. I've been sending you those royalty cheques for years!

    3. MOH

      Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

      I invented sarcasm. You owe me royalties

  3. Blackjack Silver badge

    Remember that guy that keep saying he invented e-mail?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The difference is that there are lots of possible inventors of email - it's as debatable as any other bit of history

      You either are Satoshi, and have the private key which strongly suggests this, or you aren't

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Yeah, many years ago, where I worked, we had a very basic network using RS232C and I wrote a "messaging system" very like what we now call email. At the time, there was little or no public internet so I can, with clear conscience, say I'd never heard of email before then and so can claim to have independently invented it :-)

        Actually, on reflection, it was more like Instant Messaging. Client was a TSR in MS-DOS, server was a PC with 16 serial ports, one for each client, which collected the messages and pushed them out to the relevant person or person.

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          TSRs? I wrote a few...

          Ahhh, TSRs*... They bring back memories. Home-spun multitasking. Little fuckers.

        2. Caver_Dave

          I can pre-date that with multidrop RS232 with CPM laptops. It had central storage for the messages so you could access from any computer you were logged into. I little more than IM.

          1. Persona Silver badge

            CPM laptops

            Really? Whilst CP/M laptops did exist, with the "Bondwell 2" being the most prominent, they were incredibly rare as by then (perhaps 1985) CP/M had become obsolete.

      2. xyz123

        Except its not debatable at all. There is clear and precise history about the invention and first uses of email.

        The lying sack o' crap that pretends he's the inventor of email was about 5yrs old when email was first used. And he claims email simply "didn't exist" at that time, and he made it appear like magic about 10years later!

        It's like the religious nutballs that claim dinosaur bones just don't exist and those that are on display are just really REALLY big cow bones assembled incorrectly.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Like most things, it's hard to say what was the first proper 'x'. So who actually invented email - multiple people had important roles - is a topic for discussion and debate.

          That noted, the people who each claim they invented email on their own are lying or mad.

    2. Dr Scrum Master

      So much so that when someone puts up a Youtube video to refute claims of ballot irregularities ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aokNwKx7gM8 ) they are very guarded in what they say... almost as if they were wary of anyone who might be litigious!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Grifters gonna grift

      He was involved with the Cyber Ninja scam over the Arizona vote certification. Which was about as credible as his email claims.

  4. Alan Mackenzie
    WTF?

    What's the man actually alleged to have done which is wrong? Claiming to be Elvis Presley or Jesus Christ is normally regarded as evidence of mental disturbance, not crime.

    So why is claiming to be the inventor of Bitcoin any different? How have the people persueing this legal action lost anything?

    I just don't understand this.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      He went around suing bloggers who said he wasn't.

      It's one thing to claim you're Jesus, it's another to try and foreclose on the Vatican

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      The actual case is about IP ownership and thus patent rights. If he won he could play havoc with patents and IP rights. I am with the judge, I seriously doubt he is Nakamoto.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

        Are there any relevant patents filed or granted?

        Just asking - because if there are, then we just need to follow a paper trail at the Patent Office, and if not, well, it's too late to file, because: prior art.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Are there any relevant patents filed or granted?

          Interesting point - a patent must contain the legal name and address of the human inventor, there is no system for allowing anonymous inventors (except where the whole patent is classified for national security). There was even a ruling stopping AIs being listed as inventors.

          The nearest you could do was not name the assignee = the company behind the patent. We got to know the commuter towns nearest to various Japanese corporation R&D labs so we could search for patents they were trying to hide by only listing a "Mr Ito + a Tokyo zip code"

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: Are there any relevant patents filed or granted?

            "there is no system for allowing anonymous inventors (except where the whole patent is classified for national security)"

            The null hypothesis is that Bitcoin (and tor, etc) were created by the NSA. So the national security thing is hardly a problem.

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        That would make for an interestin case. Judge reads verdict, reveals that they are really Nakamoto, and announces their retirement.

      3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        I kinda think if he was Nakamoto, he'd slowly realise his Bitcoin assets and go live on a nice private island. Given that this looks like a power grab for IP, and terefore a source of income, makes the claim look unlikely.

        I mean,seriously, what would someone do if they were a paper Billionaire? Liquidise and become a real millionaire, then go enjoy life.

        1. Lee D

          If he's just a single person:

          I would hazard a guess that rather than having a publicly-known and well-advertised Bitcoin wallet, so everyone in the world was watching what you spend it on and where it goes, that someone like Nakamoto would have instead created a far more anonymous and private wallet at some later point (probably the point that Bitcoin looked like it was about to take off, rather than the day-one test of the software when they made Block 0 or whatever), been mining to that wallet for a long time as well, and would have been living off that since 2011 when they realised it was more than enough to live off for the rest of their life.

          2011 is, oddly, when Bitcoin was worth exactly $1. How many wallets had, say, 100,000 BTC in them by 2011? You could live a few years off $100,000, especially if you kept mining and then stayed living like that until the price went insane you become a millionaire anyway. I don't know how many large wallets there would have been at that point but I would reckon it would be far easier to be lost in the noise by then, and just transfer funds from some earlier wallets, say, to a new anonymised one and spend as required without the world watching what you're doing.

          At least, if he is a person, and had any sense, that's what I would have done.

          And if you're already a multi-millionaire, basically retired and able to do whatever you like, and you know you have "emergency" access to billions upon billions if you ever desperately needed it... I can see why you wouldn't want it to be well known, why you wouldn't want to be tapping away at developing software any more, wouldn't want to be in the public eye, and wouldn't really care about having to access those billions unless you absolutely need to.

          Chances are he quietly cashed out and retired in 2011, having literally years worth of head-start on every other Bitcoin miner that existed, and the cash to buy hardware to literally become one of the largest casual miners for over a decade, undetected.

      4. ibmalone

        Are there any patent rights? Unless there's a patent submitted prior to the bitcoin white paper, one for bitcoin cannot be granted now. I'm not aware of the details of the case (and the register doesn't really outline them), but looking at the judgement, "The applications are made in the context of a claim for (amongst other things) a declaration that the defendant is not the author of, and is not the owner of the copyright in, a document which has been called the Bitcoin White Paper, published in October 2008 under the name (agreed to be a pseudonym) of Satoshi Nakamoto." So it seems since Wright has claimed to be the author (and would therefore have copyright on the white paper, but that wouldn't give control of bitcoin, only a chance to go after people reproducing the paper and code from it), COPA are seeking a declaration that he isn't. I didn't realise this was a thing you could do, proactively seek to disprove authorship, rather than wait for them to try to enforce copyright against you.

        Do wonder what he has to gain from trying to claim bitcoin authorship though. If he was actually the author then he'd be extremely wealthy anyway, but I can't see how this makes him money, even in SCO v IBM you can see there is a prize if they ever did win. Here's a thought, maybe he really is the author, but like many early adopters he's lost the keys and those million bitcoin are now forever beyond his reach.

  5. This is not a drill

    And I'm Keyser Söze.

    1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
      Devil

      Are you also immune from prosecution?

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Keyser Soze worked for the NSA? Suddenly that film has another layer of meaning.

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Hell, nearly every criminal person on the planet has worked for the NSA.

  6. Fonant

    I must be missing something. If Nakamoto mined those bitcoin, and Wright is Nakamoto, why can't he simply sell or transfer some of the bitcoins that he owns? Aren't they stored in his "wallet"?

    1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
      Devil

      Real Nakamoto is probably enjoying solving his next math theorem.

      Wikipedia: Hours after Wired published their allegations, Wright's home in Gordon, New South Wales and associated business premises in Ryde, New South Wales were raided by the Australian Federal Police.

      Not the kind of publicity a sane person would seek.

      1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
        Devil

        At the same time, if the publicity was unwanted / illegal, he could seek millions in damage.

        1. The Basis of everything is...

          Unless maybe the key on on an old harddrive which failed without backup, or he threw in the bin thinking it was useless.

          Nah, nobody would be that stupid...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It's not totally inconceivable that the original Nakamoto lost the key a very long time ago, long before it would have been valuable enough to protect more carefully, diversify into multiple wallets (or asset classes, duh), etc. But Mr Wright has claimed he still had the key in 2016, and if he did there's no way he would have allowed it to be lost since then. Asking the court to believe he allowed something that valuable to be lost to negligence or chance events like a disk failure is not a viable defense strategy; it's simply not credible. So this is an open and shut case: either transfer some trivial fraction of a BTC somewhere else (to yourself, that's fine) or concede. There isn't room for anything else; he could claim that he really is Nakamoto but lied about having the key in 2016 because he actually lost it long before that, but that would be equivalent to admitting he forged these documents. At this point I really see no possibility of winning this case unless he can prove he has the key, and I don't think anyone seriously believes he does. This case will mark the end of a long and pointless charade.

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              Asking the court to believe he allowed something that valuable to be lost to negligence or chance events like a disk failure

              Disk failures usually aren't. What fails is not the stored information, but the motor on the arm in the HDD, which leaves the data trivially recoverable by any number of companies with labs equipped to do the job using their own arm to recover the data from the drive.

              And yep, I agree with you on the defence being to transfer some BTC in that original block.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      "If Nakamoto mined those bitcoin, and Wright is Nakamoto, why can't he simply sell or transfer some of the bitcoins that he owns?"

      Because he was employed at the time by the NSA, who own the products of his work.

  7. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    Well, I Invented Internet Trolling!

    Just saying.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Well, I Invented Internet Trolling!

      You think so?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    The Court's Staff (has a knob on the end?}

    In as much seriousness as I can muster while munching popcorn, kudos to whichever staffers wrote the abnormally cogent tech decision.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: The Court's Staff (has a knob on the end?}

      The Judge will make the decision. The staffers may type it either from audio dictation or notes, but that's largely style, formatting and grammar rather than content. The content would come from the Judge.

  9. jgarbo
    Devil

    Surely, it's simple

    If Wright is Satoshi, who mined 1.1 million BTC, all he has to do is login and sell one. If he can't, he could still be Satoshi - the Forgetful...and Poor.

    1. Gob Smacked
      Headmaster

      Re: Surely, it's simple

      .. one does not "login" to work with Bitcoin.. just sayin'

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The guy's a fraud - and a douche

    If I were sitting on a million BitCoin, I wouldn't be shouting about it or claiming anything, much less suing people for calling me a liar.

    I'd be retired, quietly selling a coin every now and then and living a comfortable, quiet life.

    The last thing I would want is everyone knowing I had a million BitCoin.

    1. Gob Smacked

      Re: The guy's a fraud - and a douche

      Well, you could not even sell it in little portions. The wallet addresses are exactly known to the world and every tiny movement of that full 1.1 million Bitcoin would trigger an immediate deep Internet investigation and you would be found out.

      That big pot of 1.1 million Bitcoin gold is there, at the end of the rainbow, never to be touched and lost forever probably.

      1. localzuk Silver badge

        Re: The guy's a fraud - and a douche

        If it were touched, the price of Bitcoin would likely plunge too. As the coins not being touched is likely priced into the market, and basically written off. $46bn of bitcoin suddenly being potentially active would be worrying.

      2. TheWeetabix

        Re: The guy's a fraud - and a douche

        A deep internet investigation? By what? The internet FBI? What do they plan to investigate?

        1. Gob Smacked
          Linux

          Re: The guy's a fraud - and a douche

          LOL, yeah, something like that... :) Seriously, that amount is quite an incentive for everyone with a bit of knowledge to hunt for the person(s) m/f behind that Nakamoto hoard and find out who touched it.

          It might be some teenager from Cameroon who finds out first, who knows... \_o_/

  11. Amblyopius

    4th May post is in the wayback machine

    Click the link and go to previous snapshot and there it is.

    Once you're there I'd also read the other snapshotted post called "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Proof".

  12. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Just saying: He _was_ convicted to pay the Kleinman estate $100 million in damages. So he really needs to sell some of his bitcoin. If he has any.

  13. Allan George Dyer
    Black Helicopters

    Maybe it's a double-bluff?

    He is Satoshi, still has the key, but realises that any attempt to sell will trigger an investigation that will lead to him. So, he very publicly looses this case. Later, when he sells some, the investigation leads to him, and everyone says, "Nah, he's the idiot who couldn't prove he was Satoshi in 2022, someone's set us up, keep looking".

    1. Freddie
      Alien

      Re: Maybe it's a double-bluff?

      Or maybe that's what he *wants* you to think! O_o

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he’s Nakamoto

    Apologies if this has already been asked and answered…

    …but why doesn’t he just move some coins from the Nakamoto wallet in front of some court-approved witnesses to prove he has the Nakamoto keys?

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: If he’s Nakamoto

      The two obvious answers are 1) he is lying or 2) he created bitcoin while working for the NSA, who own the wallet.

      An even less likely answer than (2) is that he is the creator, but forgot his password.

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    Seems like such an easy thing to prove

    Just sell or move a single coin. How hard is that? Everything else is just blustery bollocks.

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