back to article I own that $4.5bn of digi-dosh so rewrite your blockchain and give it to me, Craig Wright tells Bitcoin SV devs

A man who claims he's the creator of Bitcoin says his private keys to £14m of Bitcoin SV were deleted by hackers in 2020 – and now he's suing developers to forcibly give him access to internet coins he "owns but cannot access." Craig Wright (yes, him again) is suing 15 people and one Swiss company in the hope of forcing them …

  1. UCAP Silver badge

    In summary then ...

    Mr Wright appears to be saying that he owns a huge fortune but cannot prove it because he claims hackers deleted his keys. First question - where and what is his proof? Arm waving and loud shouting is not going to impress the judge, he is going to have to produce something tangible as clear evidence. Second question - why did he not have an offline backup of the keys on read-only media? For something that important, only an idiot would not keep multiple secure copies.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: In summary then ...

      > Second question - why did he not have an offline backup of the keys on read-only media?

      He did but they too were accidentally thrown out with his collection of Napoleon memorabilia.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: In summary then ...

        "He did but they too were accidentally thrown out with his collection of Napoleon memorabilia."

        I see, and was that was next to his extensive slide collection of 20th century telegraph poles?

      2. waldo kitty
        Paris Hilton

        Re: In summary then ...

        He did but they too were accidentally thrown out with his collection of Napoleon memorabilia.

        is that all in the tip with the accidentally thrown away hard drive? or is that another guy i'm thinking of? if it is the same guy, i wonder if him searching for his Napoleon stuff might get him closer to the lost HD?

        Paris because crying over spilt milk (aka lost stuff)

      3. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: In summary then ...

        So he's stopped claiming to be Napoleon then?

        The pills must be working.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: In summary then ...

      I'm an idiot. Well, someone who mined a bunch of coins waaay back in the day. Then forgot about them because at the time, they weren't worth anything, or anything much. So they're consigned to the great bit bucket in the sky. Which is apparently the fate of a lot of the original coins. And also I guess one of those general economic bits of fun. At least banknotes get periodically updated and reprinted, kind of removing lost money from the system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: In summary then ...

        @Jellied Eel

        I thought I was the only one.

        I mined 42 in the days when you could actually use a normal computer to mine the damned things, worked out how much it had cost in electricity, as they were worth way less than the bill, I thought fuck that and wiped the drive...

        1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: In summary then ...

          Finally we know what the answer to life the universe and everything was all about!

        2. chuBb. Silver badge

          Re: In summary then ...

          Me 2, I was living in a absolute shit hole of a flat, but the rent included electric as there was no heating, so found mining to be a good way of heating, it's not like the side is ever on a techies tower...

          Had mined approx 100 coins till my hard drive made all the sounds of death, moved out not long after that and never bothered to mine again.

          0 regrets if I was still in possession I would have cashed out as soon as it was worth a takeaway or a packet of fags anyway

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: In summary then ...

            Much the same. I remembered my time as a miner when coins hit the news for being 'worth' $500. Which I think meant mine would have been around £600k or more. So I briefly cursed my disk wiping policy. Not with a cloth, but a power drill, ½“ bit and a blowtorch. Possibly just as well or I may have been tempted to go trash diving like the Welsh chap.

            Luckily I'd also had the experience of being virtually rich from stock options in dead dotcoms, so easy to shrug it off.

          2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: In summary then ...

            I'd be tempted to engage a lawyer; you have a much better chance than Wright. For starters, you actually owned the coins...

      2. Julz Silver badge

        Re: In summary then ...

        Yep me to.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: In summary then ...

      I have as much evidence that the coins belong to me.

    4. Ignazio

      Re: In summary then ...

      He had copies but you wouldn't know them, they go to another school

    5. streaky
      FAIL

      Re: In summary then ...

      It's like suing a central bank because you dumped your cash in a fire. About as valid a legal case, at least.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: In summary then ...

        It's a bit more like suing a bank because you claim you totally had some money in a safety deposit box but the keys got stolen, so you want the bank to give you a new key...except you've temporarily mislaid any evidence that the box was yours in the first place.

    6. CommonBloke

      Re: In summary then ...

      He might as well claim to be a Nigerian princess that totally lost access to the 100 million dollars and only needs 10k to magically recover it. Way more believable than his current legal BS

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: In summary then ...

        I'm wondering how he's going to pay out that $70m judgement - that was karma coming back to bite.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: In summary then ...

          Well, obviously that's why he wants his $4.5 bn back now. Maybe he's only just realised it's gone, when he tried to pay that bill...

          Honestly, who ever thought BTC was likely to be better for anything than fiat money?

    7. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: In summary then ...

      Proves one thing though.

      If he's that technologically illiterate there's no way on earth he had anything to do with developing the blockchain.

      Or, put another way, the very fact he claims to own those coins proves he doesn't.

      Then again, it's a massive stretch of credulity to imagine thieves making of with his keys, deleting his copies and then neglecting to collect the $4.5bn they'd just nicked.

      An obvious serial bullshitter if ever there was one.

  2. xeroks

    I only have questions

    how much bitcoinSV does he claim ownership of? Is it £16m worth or $4.5b worth? or are these valuations for different things?

    And does he claim ownership over any BTC? Or do the coins he claims ownership of predate BTC?

    The odd thing is that I'd have expected the inventor of crypto currency to have a working knowledge of the downsides of their design, e.g. keeping your keys and wallet secure is quite important.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I only have questions

      ...Also if he is the computer wizz that he claims to be how come his computer was so easy to hack?

      1. Clausewitz 4.0
        Devil

        Re: I only have questions

        From what I heard, police raided his home and business offices.

        He could have simply said they had stolen the keys.

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: how come his computer was so easy to hack?

        Many apparently smart people can be incredibly naive. Chances are there's a Dunning-Kruger effect in play too.

        But being realistic, chances are far higher he's litigating out of his arse.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: I only have questions

      Since "BitcoinSV" is a fork of Bitcoin, and the "Satoshi" wallet in question came from the original Bitcoin block chain, then the keys for both would be the same.

      If Wright could claim ownership of the key for the BitcoinSV wallet (worth $16M), then it would allow him to claim ownership of the key for the bitcoin wallet (which is worth $4.5Bn).

      It wouldn't actually get him that key, though, so he wouldn't be able to "spend" or move that balance, but he might then claim that whoever does have access to it, if they can be identified, should hand it over, and claim that they are hackers.

      Most people in the crypto community do not think Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, so that wallet is most likely not under the control of hackers, and Wright would appear to be undertaking legal manoeuvres to try to steal it by "legal" means.

    3. DwarfPants
      Coat

      Re: I only have questions

      I think £16m and $4.5b are both valid valuations, just taken a couple of hours apart

  3. sreynolds Bronze badge

    Like any real blockchain developer he stored his keys in the chain,

    1. DJV Silver badge

      And not under the doormat outside the front door?

      1. pertayter

        The doormat is too obvious. That's what those hollow stone key frogs are for

        1. sreynolds Bronze badge

          Surely he could have just buried them in a national park and bought a lottery ticket with the Lat and Lon location. I mean granted, I believe that most systems would order the numbers in probably ascending order but let's not worry about that.

  4. Scott Pedigo
    Holmes

    Plot For A Film

    Film Plot: this claim and legal battle is just a trick to get the real Satoshi Nakamoto to reveal his identity.

    Once that happens, the quick-action special ops teams on stand-by for an organized crime syndicate go into action, kidnapping the real Satoshi, with the plan to intimidate or torture him into handing over the keys to the $4.5B worth of BTC.

    Like all big heists, the mercenaries each get a payout, but the main portion of BTC disappears, being immediately broken up into smaller amounts and distributed to thousands of wallets.

    The authorities are now faced with the uncomfortable choice of either shutting down the cryptocurrency entirely, to prevent the (latest) crooks from profiting from the theft, or else engaging in the enormous task of trying to trace what is designed to be hard to trace, as the money is laundered through ever more transactions, a difficult if not impossible task.

    The authorities know if they simply shut the cryptocurrency down, e.g. by declaring it illegal, or by freezing the blockchain and halting any further transactions until the mess can be unwound, that thousands (millions?) of small investors (speculators) will lose access temporarily or maybe permanently to their money and scream very loudly about it.

    The organized crime syndicate hopes the authorities will decide the lesser evil is to let them get away with the theft. After all, they routinely pay people to steal valuable art work from museums, and then hide it in secret warehouses, waiting for the statue of limitations to run out. Even if that might not happen in the lifetimes of the current bosses. Eventually the paintings turn up again and can be auctioned off, back to the museums or to rich private collectors. Cryptocurrency is just another commodity for them.

    Sherlock because it will all be a big mystery...

    1. Ace2 Bronze badge

      Re: Plot For A Film

      I would watch that movie

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Plot For A Film

      Please explain how "the authorities" would "freeze the blockchain".

      Transactions take place by being confirmed on the blockchain by "mining". The "miner" computes a key that is required to hash the next block on the chain to a string with a certain number of leading zeroes (the current "difficulty"), and, as a reward, gets the transaction fees in that block, and a mining reward. This happens roughly every ten minutes (the "difficulty" is varied based on the time-to-mine of recent blocks, but there is some element of randomness to this).

      The important bit here is that the blockchain itself is on a globally hosted decentralised network, and the "miners" are based across the world. In order to stop all transactions from being recorded, you'd have to stop all mining activity, globally. Just declaring it "illegal" is not going to cut it, for obvious reasons, just as declaring that paying for drugs with US dollars is illegal doesn't stop that being the currency of choice for drug traffickers.

      Some countries have banned, or severely limited cryptocurrency mining (China, Russia, and so on), and whilst it may have made the "difficulty" dip at that point in time, it has soon rebounded; the "difficulty growth" has been roughly exponential since Bitcoin's inception, which is one of its main problems, because difficulty is proportionate to energy use.

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: Plot For A Film

        Please explain how "the authorities" would "freeze the blockchain".

        Some smart kid would do it on their mobile phone.

        1. chuBb. Silver badge

          Re: Plot For A Film

          Would write an app in visual basic.net to ping it

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Plot For A Film

        Please explain how "the authorities" would "freeze the blockchain".

        Liquid nitrogen. The original is stored in Wright's garage.

        1. Precordial thump

          Re: Plot For A Film

          Then the authorities would drop it by accident. Billions of shards of ones and zeroes lying quickly thawing in a puddle on the floor. How would we ever put it back together again? Come to that, why would we ever put it back together again?

      3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Plot For A Film

        ... to be fair, I skim-read the OP, and totally missed the whole bit where it's a film plot. Carry on, as you were, and so on. The more ridiculous and implausible the better. Maybe add in a bit where they use the power consumption of bitcoin to cool down a mega-volcano and save the Earth.

    3. pertayter

      Re: Plot For A Film

      This plot doesn't work, because Bitcoin is uncensorable by being a world-wide network of independently operated nodes. There is no world government. Freezing the blockchain is impossible, because every node independently stores its own copy. My government might find me and freeze my node's blockchain. The other 40,000 nodes ignore my node because it is now non-compliant

      Also, the real Satoshi never mined that much Bitcoin. His story is mundane. His computing resources were limited to one laptop supplied by his employer. Mining Bitcoin was a heavy load on this PC, making it useless for its normal work

      He offloaded the mining work to collaborators, willing volunteers, in the first few days, and never mined again. The 700,000 unspent Bitcoin from 2009 mining belongs to those dozens or hundreds of collaborators, all of whom discarded their keys when Bitcoin was so hard to sell that nobody knew if it even had a price, another mundane story

      If anything, Wright's courtroom drama makes a good movie plot. How far can a liar push a lawsuit without ending in prison for perjury? All the falsely sued Bitcoin developers having to fly into London to appear before a judge on a fraudulent claim, with the stress of an unpredictable outcome, and constant demands on their finances to fund their defence costs. If Wright wins, the movie becomes the ultimate true parody of a corrupt legal system

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Plot For A Film

        > All the falsely sued Bitcoin developers having to fly into London to appear before a judge on a fraudulent claim, with the stress of an unpredictable outcome, and constant demands on their finances to fund their defence costs

        Which is presumably the aim. He does some sort of deal with their solicitors where they agree to support his claim in return for them being dropped.

        He then shops the case around jurisdictions until he finds a judge and jury <cough>East Texas</cough> who decide for him because he has an American Flag hat and this Satoshi guy sounds like a gook.

        He gets a judgement against Coinbase or Binance for a few $10M in damages and they pay because they are worth $Bn and its cheaper than a threat to their SEC licence.

        It's just the old patent troll model with magic beans

        1. MickMackMoik

          Re: Plot For A Film

          This is exactly it.

          Not sure why the author didn't mention it (maybe El Reg is so anti-crypto they didn't know what everyone in the cryptosphere knows?), but nChain Ltd. is a vehicle for Craig Wright, and Bitcoin Satoshi's Vision (BSV) is Wright's fork of Bitcoin.

          Blockchains are _supposed_ to be globally hosted decentralised networks, and the "miners" are based across the world, but the majority of BSV's hash power is hosted by Wright's company nChain.

          And yes, the company's main business until now is patent-trolling.

          So - if Wright were to convince a credulous judge to accept his claim to legal ownership of this amount of BSV (more unlikely than likely, but still possible), he can then then use the judgement to 'threaten' the miners (ie his own company) to rewrite the blockchain (oh, look - they've already got the code ready), who will roll over without any challenge and, hey presto - he's mounted a 51% attack on the BSV blockchain and is covered legally (and, to a limited degree, in PR terms) for doing so.

          I would pity the poor hodlers of BSV but, tbh, if you hold BSV, it can only mean you give few f**ks about the decentralisation and security of the coin you've chosen to hold, and you had it coming when the guy who controls the chain decides to turn around and award himself a bonus at your expense.

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Plot For A Film

        Couldn't he have offloaded some bitcoin and bought another, dedicated, PC to create bitcoin ?

        1. pertayter

          Re: Plot For A Film

          "Couldn't he have offloaded some bitcoin and bought another, dedicated, PC to create bitcoin ?"

          The first real-world transaction with Bitcoin spent 10,000 Bitcoin to buy 2 pizzas. Satoshi wouldn't be able to buy a slice of pepperoni, definitely not a new laptop

      3. Clausewitz 4.0
        Devil

        Re: Plot For A Film

        I would kidnap all core developers with commit access to the bitcoin core code, in a multi-country operation.

        Then, under gun-point, announce a hard fork or inserting a weak generation routine for the private keys, like NSA did with elliptic curve.

        *This is an hypotesy for a movie, no need to sue me.

      4. sreynolds Bronze badge

        Re: Plot For A Film

        At the state level you could easily kill all external traffic to your state, take over mining, spend like a madman by fleecing those that you had forced to spend their coin by restricting supply of real goods (after all money is only useful for what it gets you) and then rejoin the mainet with all your coins in tact.

        I mean it's a movie plot. Doesn't mean that it probable, just a possibility.

    4. jtaylor Bronze badge

      Re: Plot For A Film

      Crooks kidnapping art and then waiting for the Statue of Limitations to run out?

      Box office gold! My favorite part will be the climactic scene where the Statue, still gripping the mangled body of one of the art thieves, is confronted by FBI attack helicopters, police in tanks, and our small band of superheroes who just escaped from prison after being wrongly convicted of the heists.

      1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Just nuke the originals...

        No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.

        And this time I won't tell you my plan beforehand just in case you manage to escape.

        But seeing as you asked, and I'm a megalomaniac who just can't resist spilling the beans... I'm going to crash the value of Bitcoin by threatening to bring the original Satoshi stash to the market. I'll buy up on the cheap and then announce that I've destroyed the key to the stash, driving the price up again! And there's nothing you can do to stop me!

  5. JassMan Silver badge

    A recipe for cryptocoin disaster

    a firm called nChain Ltd is "said to be working on a modification to the existing BSV client software, which would enable someone who owns but cannot access the BSV to regain control of them."

    If they can do this then so can hackers. What is the point of blockchain, if anyone can overwrite keys for anyone who claims ownership.

    Just like losing £5K down the back of the sofa, then sending it to the local incinerator cos it has become a bit grubby. If you demand that the Bank of England owes you £5000 even though you cannot prove you are the bearer, they should just laugh in your face.

    If I owned any bit coin, I would have a copy on the keys on a USB key. If they were worth more than £1K, I would have it on 2 USB keys, If it were any more I would have it on an encrypted key stored at a solicitors office or a bank deposit box.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: A recipe for cryptocoin disaster

      Modifications to blockchains require approval of the majority of miners, or result in a "minority branch" on the chain which dies out.

      The alternative is a fork of the blockchain, but who is going to involve themselves in a fork of Bitcoin which allows others to take control of your wallet?

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: A recipe for cryptocoin disaster

      What if the bitcoin were worth about $3.50 when you acquired it, but had grown in value and was now worth $1 million? At what stage would you have made those extra copies?

  6. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    Bitcoin is not tulipmania

    400 years after tulip mania, there is still a market for tulip bulbs. Have a listen to the "More or Less" podcast on the subject - turns out it wasn't so stupid as is portrayed. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p066xbxr

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bitcoin is not tulipmania

      Also, tulip bulbs have utility value: you can grow them into tulips, which are enjoyable to look at. They can also be sold as/in cut bouquets to produce income. If you choose a perennial variety that income can be obtained repeatedly without losing the bulb. It is possible to overpay for any asset but at least you still have an asset that provides some kind of value; surely the worst choice is to purchase an asset that can never provide any value at all.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Bitcoin is not tulipmania

        If only you could extract the energy used to mine a bitcoin back from the coin itself.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Bitcoin is not tulipmania

      Er, Tulipmania was every bit as stupid* as it is portrayed. Read the Madness of Crowds.

      That there is _some_ market for tulip bulbs has nothing to do with it: it was still an immense bubble, and the market has never recovered to anything like similar levels.

      *Well, stupid is an interesting term. There is always someone who claims pumping up a bubble is actually rational. But more conservative - that is, sane - investors think it's a stupid thing to do because you know the bubble will burst at some point, but never know when it'll be.

  7. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    OK something I've never understood in this case

    If, and it's a big "if", he really did invent Bitcoin (original BTC), then he can prove that by a) telling people he's going to move a bit from that 4.5bn he claims to own; b) transferring a minor wedge into another wallet that he owns and to which other people can see, and c) transfer it back if he wants. Do that, on video if you must, and boom everyone will believe him. The fact that he hasnt done something that simple, says he's a liar.

    So ok Hackers stole his "keys" to this forked Bitcoin, which I assume was forked 1:1, so he's claiming the same ownership as in original Bitcoin. Is he also claiming that Hackers stole his keys to the original Bitcoin wallet too?

    If so, well frankly then he's an idiot for not having everything offline and backed up. If Hackers had really stolen the keys to his bitcoin, those bitcoins would be making their way through tumblers, etc. and into bank accounts somewhere else. That they havent moved at all, says to me he's talking bollocks. More likely (again making the rather reaching assumption that he really does own them), he's simply forgotten the passwords, or lost the keys on an old harddrive that went to the tip. No back-ups and bye bye.

    But then again, I'm willing to bet he's talking out his arse... But as always, let see what the courts decide...

    1. pertayter

      Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

      <blockquote>Is he also claiming that Hackers stole his keys to the original Bitcoin wallet too?</blockquote>

      They're the same keys. And yes, he filed a suit in 2021 against a list of Bitcoin developers to code an exception so that a specific list of old, unspent coins can be accessed by himself without using the private keys to sign the transactions. This is technically trivial, but a gross breach of governance (except that the court is responsible for the breach, and the developers are unwilling servants of the court, if Wright wins the suit)

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

        One of the two of us blatantly misunderstands how this works. If someone can change some code to allow access to someone’s Bitcoin, presumably his own, then hackers can access everyone’s Bitcoin by changing the same code in the same way.

        1. SloppyJesse

          Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

          Afraid it's you.

          The mining process is simply software which uses rules to validate transactions into a block and then computes a nonce as proof of work. Change the validation rules to allow it and you can add a transaction that consumes a previous output [1] without signing with the private key and moves it to a new address that you have the key for. You need a majority of mining compute power to adopt the new rules for the block to successfully get onto the chain [2] - which in theory is what stops random hackers doing it. But if you get a court to order the software developers that write the miner the majority use to do it you are at least part way there.

          [1] output because the blockchain is a ledger. Wallets don't really exist.

          [2] Vaguely recall this has been done on some crypto chains when they introduced rules to 'fix' already committed transactions.

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

            >But if you get a court to order the software developers that write the miner the majority use to do it you are at least part way there.

            ...and there you have the problem. Which court? What jurisdiction? What developers?

            I can understand someone's frustration if they'd made a few worthless Bitcoins back in the day when Bitcoins were worthless and then deleted the whole mess only to realize a decade later that those worthless coins are now worth a fortune. (On paper, at least.) But as a person who's supposed to know something about the subject he'd surely realize that trying to get a court to mandate changes to a system that by its very design is distributed so to be mandate proof he should realize the futility of what he's asking.

            1. chuBb. Silver badge

              Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

              Patent/dcma troll

              As long as he can get a judgement in his favor he is gifted a stick to launch frivolous suits with with an expectation that his targets will settle rather than fight.

              1. mpi

                Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

                I am not sure such lawsuits would be very impressive to miners in Farawayistan.

          2. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

            Changing the software may be part way there but the biggest part is getting a crucial threshold of miners to use it. You risk making the currency as worthless as it really should be.

          3. mpi

            Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

            Okay let's say someone wins such a case, and a court order is issued in his favor.

            And then what?

            The entire point of a distributed PoW ledger is, that a majority of the nodes in the network have to agree to a protocol in order for it to be effective. So, in order to change the rules such that these transactions are validated on the chain, 51% of miners have to agree to run the modified rules on their rigs.

            These miners are in tons of countries, each with their own jurisdictions, laws, courts, legal system, etc.

            So how would such a court ruling be enforceable?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: OK something I've never understood in this case

              Let's suppose for a moment that the ruling is enforceable, possibly because at some not too distant time it seems likely that more than half the mining in the world will be done in the United States (because China threw them out and Kazakhstan has shockingly turned out to be too politically unstable).

              It will be difficult enough to convince a court to order software engineers who did nothing wrong, were not party to this lawsuit, and have no contractual obligation to maintain the blockchain software to actively do engineering work to change that software. They wouldn't have any trouble finding lawyers of their own to challenge that ruling or have it declared a taking which in turn would obligate the government (but the government wasn't a party either!) to pay them for their labour. Moreover, forced labour as a taking has never been allowed in the United States except as criminal punishment, which means that both the engineers and the government itself would have grounds to appeal. To describe the entire premise as legally dubious seems an understatement. But suppose they somehow managed to win not only the original case and all the decade-long appeals, and the engineers were in fact forced to write this code. Then what?

              He'd then need to sue every miner (or at least enough miners) to compel them to *use* the new code. That is, he would need to find a court to order millions of people to run *this* software and not *that* software on computers that *they own*. In our hypothetical scenario, it sure is good that he and his lawyers now have a lot of practice because they're really going to need it now! In principle it might be just barely possible to win this if and only if there were a strong and well-tested legal and regulatory framework in place for, say, cryptocurrencies that can be traded on public exchanges that accept the local fiat currency (in our already hopeful example, the US dollar). If such a framework existed, it might be that the only way for "Bitcoin" (or "Bitcoin SV", or whatever) to remain tradeable on such an exchange or even legal to exchange for US dollars would be to adopt a verification algorithm approved by the court. In other words, the court still wouldn't be able to force anyone to write or run software that gives Mr Wright a bunch of money he did nothing to earn, but it might be possible that they could conclude it's in their interests to do so. Naturally this entire chain of events, which implies 10-20 years worth of legislative and judicial work that shows no sign of happening, would fork the blockchain and leave the Americans with the far less valuable branch. That in turn would lead to yet another miner exodus to fairer shores abroad.

              So I can come up with ways, decades hence, that such a court order might be effective if not actually enforceable, but the actual effect would be to leave one country with near-worthless forks of popular blockchains and practically no miners (that might not be a bad thing for that country, but it doesn't help Mr Wright very much). In the current legal regime, it would be nearly unthinkable that a court would issue such an order, practically impossible that it would survive an appeal, and entirely impossible that it would have Mr Wright's intended outcome even if it did because there is no possible way to force anyone to use the software Mr Wright would like written. This lawsuit is self-defeating, which is exactly what one would expect from someone who has absolutely no understanding of the blockchains he falsely claims to have invented. I'm hopeful he'll soon be found guilty of perjury or at least named a vexatious litigant. The whole point of cryptographically strong ledgers is that it relies on ownership of private keys. If you don't have the keys, you don't have the asset. If you don't like that, WHY DID YOU INVENT IT? Oh right, you didn't. We're done here.

  8. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    What's the legal Latin …

    … for "Oh fuck off, you ridiculous poseur"?

  9. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I'm Satoshi Nakamoto

    and so's my wife.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: I'm Satoshi Nakamoto

      Dr. Wright is also Keyser Söze.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: I'm Satoshi Nakamoto

        Khyber Pass would be closer.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: I'm Satoshi Nakamoto

        and Banksy.

    2. mpi

      Re: I'm Satoshi Nakamoto

      I am Spartacus!

    3. Satoshi Nakamoto
      Trollface

      Re: I'm Satoshi Nakamoto

      No you're not!

  10. gnasher729 Silver badge

    There is a guy who lost his hard drive containing keys to his bitcoin (well, threw them away). They are worth about £400 million by now. He asked his local government to dig up the complete garbage dump where his hard drive would be. It might be possible to find the drive for much less than £400 million, but they refuse. (And the story is likely true, because his sob story was published first when the bitcoin was worth £700,000, many years ago).

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      The local council knows better than to start digging around in a rubbish dump looking for a hard drive with £400m of made up fun bucks on it, since to actually dig up the tip will cost a fair amount of real £ for machinery and staff and they run the very real risk that either the HDD wouldn't be found, would not be recoverable or that £400m of BTC would be worth 40p by the time the bubble burst.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. pavel.petrman Silver badge

        IIRC that was the main arguement of the council in question - who's going to pay for the machinery, health and safety precautions, workers' wages and environment protection? All of that will add up to a substantial sum and unless paid for in advance, no digging. Also, the data on the drive would probably be unrecoverably lost.

      3. YetAnotherLocksmith

        The council are happy for someone to pay for the dump to be dug up. They just want the money ahead of time!

        Bit like when people want me to open their ancient locked safe "and split the contents" - nope, it's £xxx agreed up front because:

        The safe is always empty

        If the safe has £400,000 in it, you'll change your mind on splitting it

      4. Chris Coles

        All Rubbish goes through a magnetic system to remove the metals

        Need one say more? All household rubbish is passed under a magnet to remove them as scrap; they are worth money. So the hard drive will not be in that rubbish dump, and the metal will already have been melted down for re-use. Gone!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Listen guv... honest... that 5 billion or so of bitcoin.. it's mine... yeah yeah... hand on heart. Private keys? oh they were stolen, but the money's mine... yeah man - wait, you mean bitcoin is anonymous and you can't prove who owns it? Do you accept a pinky swear or swearing on my nan's grave??

  12. Blackjack Silver badge

    If he actually had invented Bitcoin he wouldn't need a court order, would he?

  13. Claverhouse Silver badge
    WTF?

    Higher Academe

    On another note, it does seem rather odd that so many pure loonies hold doctorates --- which shows they are not stupid either --- and adhere to the wildest theories and claims.

    1. pertayter

      Re: Higher Academe

      Craig Wright's doctoral thesis has been demonstrated to be plagiarised

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Higher Academe

        And, IIRC, is almost entirely nonsensical

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Higher Academe

      >so many pure loonies hold doctorates

      As do so many super-villains

      I'm not saying i wouldn't use my PhD for evil, it's just that the HR issues in recruiting and replacing so many henchmen seems like a lot of hassle.

      Although an indoor monorail would be awesome.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Higher Academe

      Since when a diploma prove someone's intelligence?

      1. MarkB

        Re: Higher Academe

        Potemkine! wrote "Since when a diploma prove someone's intelligence?"

        To which the Wizard of Oz replies:

        "Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity! Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain! Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts — and with no more brains than you have. But! They have one thing you haven't got! A diploma! Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universita Committeeatum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D."

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Higher Academe

        It doesn't, but the admissions, and the work involved in gaining diplomas cannot be achieved by those of us without much of a capacity for intelligence.

        Same for those who become a U.S. president; feel free to call them stupid, and more reasonably to call them vile wastes of space, but even a Bush II has more savvy than most other politicians.

        .

        On the other hand, it does no harm to have a doctorate when publishing a pamphlet proving the EU is run by cultists of Cthulhu; or that, if calculated aright, Sweden has far more political assassinations than America.

  14. JimmyPage

    How hard is it to keep 128k safe if you needed to ?

    just that

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm Craig Wright and so is my wife.

  16. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    They've all refused Wright's demands, though a firm called nChain Ltd is "said to be working on a modification to the existing BSV client software, which would enable someone who owns but cannot access the BSV to regain control of them."

    According to Craig Wright's website (https://craigwright.net/) he is the "nChain chief scientist".

    1. UCAP Silver badge
      Joke

      If you believe any thing he says then I have this nice bridge in Brooklyn I need to sell ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who would run such a patched node? Thankfully the whole point of a distributed consensus-based blockchain makes such an attack impossible. Any block with a transaction moving those coins without a valid signature using their private key will be rejected as invalid by 99.9999% of the other nodes, and so it goes.

  17. Esme
    FAIL

    £81?

    Correction: 1 Bitcoin is worth 8100 cow-burps. (it has negative value to the world as a whole)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Wright isn't

    IMHO, he's Wrong.

    Sorry, but it had to be said.

    :)

  19. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    I once had billions in bitcoinSV

    But some big boys took them, then ran away.

  20. DrXym Silver badge

    LOL

    "I'm going to sue the person who made my house because it was ransacked after I left the door open.". Good luck with that lawsuit.

  21. VulcanV5

    Interesting to see the home page self-description on Wright's website: "Eternal student and researcher. nChain Chief Scientist. Lawyer, banker, economist, pastor, coder, investor, mathematician, stats, and world-curious. My opinions are my own."

    Omission of the fact that "I am supported and sustained by venal lawyers even more delusional than I am working on the promise of 15% commission of £4.5 billion (the equivalent, by my own calculations, of one tulip)" may be more significant than the revelation that Wright is a "pastor". (And perhaps past his sell-by date, too.)

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