Judge Rules Craig Wright’s Claim to Be Satoshi Nakamoto is “Pure Fantasy”

On Monday, Mr. Justice Mellor handed down his written judgment on the COPA lawsuit brought against Craig Wright on the grounds that his claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto were fraudulent. The judgment follows on the heels of Mr. Justice Mellor’s March 18 oral declaration that Wright was not Satoshi Nakamoto, and marks the formal end of COPA’s lawsuit. As Mr. Justice Mellor wrote in his ruling, “The conclusion is inescapable in my judgment. Dr Wright was lying…I agree that his application was a fraud on the Court and a fraud on COPA and the Developers.”

The judgment is a major victory for the Bitcoin developers that have been subjected to Wright’s nearly decade-long campaign of harassment and intimidation based on fraudulent claims that he was Bitcoin’s creator. The ruling bars Wright from further Bitcoin-related IP claims in the UK, allowing developers to contribute code with renewed confidence that they will not be harassed and intimidated for their work on Bitcoin. 

The judgment is also a major victory for the open source developer community more broadly insofar as the judgment is legally binding in several other cases Wright has brought against Bitcoin developers, including the Tulip Trading case. Following Mr. Justice Mellor’s oral ruling in March, Wright withdrew his lawsuit against the developers in the Tulip Trading case as well as an appeal in a lawsuit brought against Hodlonaut. 

The 231-page judgment detailed the extent of Wright’s lies and how he used them to  harass open source developers who contributed to Bitcoin Core. Several key remarks from Mr. Justice Mellor’s ruling are included below: 

“Dr Wright presents himself as an extremely clever person. However, in my judgment, he is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. In both his written evidence and in days of oral evidence under cross-examination, I am entirely satisfied that Dr Wright lied to the Court extensively and repeatedly. Most of his lies related to the documents he had forged which purported to support his claim. All his lies and forged documents were in support of his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.”

“In my judgment, the evidence was overwhelming that the suggestion that Dr Wright drafted the Bitcoin White Paper or anything like it is pure fabrication. The account he gave in his witness statement(s)…was pure fantasy.”

“In my judgment, Dr Wright’s elaborate attempt to carve an alternative narrative by forging documents in LaTeX mark him as a fraud and his claim in these proceedings as a fraudulent claim…The real explanation for Dr Wright’s evidence is that he did not know what he was talking about…because he had not used LaTeX in the way that he was describing.”

“COPA faced a constantly moving target of forged documents produced by Dr Wright which continued up to the start of trial and, indeed, during it.”

In both his written evidence and in days of oral evidence under cross-examination,I am entirely satisfied that Dr Wright lied to the Court extensively and repeatedly.”

“I am satisfied that every element of Dr Wright’s factual and technical explanation of Satoshi’s PGP key was wrong. The Developers submitted that one inference to be drawn from that shortcoming in his evidence, and from the sharp change in that evidence following disclosure of Mr Malmi’s emails, is that Dr Wright was telling these lies to avoid the inference to be drawn from his failure to sign a message using Satoshi’s PGP key. I agree.”

“Overall, there is strong evidence and I find that the Tulip Trust was another invention of Dr Wright’s, initially as part of an attempt to shield assets from a possible bankruptcy in Australia. Having invented it, he attempted to use it in Kleiman to avoid having to identify the bitcoin he supposedly owned, yet that attempt failed.”

“Overall, in my judgment, … Dr Wright’s attempts to prove he was/is Satoshi Nakamoto represent a most serious abuse of this Court’s process. The same point applies to other jurisdictions as well: Norway in particular. Although whether Dr Wright was Satoshi was not actually in issue in Kleiman, that litigation would not have occurred but for his claim to be Satoshi. In all three jurisdictions, it is clear that Dr Wright engaged in the deliberate production of false documents to support false claims and use the Courts as a vehicle for fraud. Despite acknowledging in this Trial that a few documents were inauthentic (generally blamed on others), he steadfastly refused to acknowledge any of the forged documents. Instead, he lied repeatedly and extensively in his attempts to deflect the allegations of forgery.”

Read the full judgment

Read the judgment appendix detailing instances of forgery