Erik Weijers, 9 months ago
On Monday, the trial of Hodlonaut versus Wright kicked off in Oslo. Both parties have had a chance to do their opening statement for the court. The first days no doubt were a challenge for the judge, who got lectured about both cryptographic hash functions and Crypto Twitter jargon.
Craig Wright is an Australian entrepreneur who claims he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin community tends to disagree and widely considers him a fraud. In response, Wright has filed various libel lawsuits. In 2019, Wright demanded Hodlonaut (nickname of Magnus Granath, a Norwegian school teacher and Bitcoin blogger) via Twitter to retract certain statements as well as make a public apology. Hodlonaut did not comply and was sued by Wright for libel in the British court system. Holdonaut then started a case against Wright in Norway. That lawsuit precedes the one in the UK and has been widely supported with donations from the Bitcoin community.
On the first day of the trial, Hodlonaut's lawyer argued that the culture on Twitter was negative towards Wright well before Hodlonaut's tweets calling Wright a scammer. Hashtags like #Faketoshi #CraigWrightIsAFraud had been doing the rounds.
The lawyer went on to read the court a series of tweets from various users calling Wright a faker and demanding he provide cryptographic proof he is Satoshi – to which Wright often replied with vitriol, calling his critics 'losers' and 'scum'.
On the second trial day, Wright's lawyers were allowed to present their point of view. According to the plea, Wright has suffered extreme emotional pain from the burden of having to prove he is Satoshi.
Most importantly, the lawyer stated that Wright will not provide any new cryptographic proof that he is Satoshi Nakamoto during his trial. This is critical, as Wright has often claimed he has this proof - in other words: that he would be able to move the 2009 Bitcoin belonging to Satoshi. But now, Wright's lawyer argued that Wright won't hand over this proof as he thinks it's not sufficient proof anyway. Instead, the lawyer came up with a litany of circumstantial evidence, such as the fact that influential investor Gavin Andresen once believed Wright was Satoshi, a statement he later came back on.
The trial in Oslo will take another five days to conclude. The proceedings of the trial in Great Britain will hinge on the outcome of the Norwegian trial. Hopefully, a good outcome for Hodlonaut will dissuade Wright from future lawsuits. The Bitcoin community has been plagued by the affluent Wright suing left and right and burying his opponents with paperwork and thus lawyer fees. It has caused developers a headache and has caused a few prominent ones to stop working on Bitcoin. As such, Wright's actions are more than just a nuisance: they stand in the way of technical development of Bitcoin.
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