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Judge rules computer scientist not Bitcoin inventor

Judge rules computer scientist not Bitcoin inventor

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright has long claimed he created Bitcoin.

An Australian computer scientist is actually not Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym attributed to the person widely credited with creating Bitcoin, according to a ruling by a High Court judge in the UK.

Craig Wright has been claiming to be Nakamoto since 2016 and was sued by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (Copa), a non-profit group including cryptocurrency firms.

During the trial, Copa said Wright had created an “elaborate false narrative” which included forged documents and he had even “terrorized” people who questioned him.

Lucy North/PA
Lucy North/PA

The lawyer representing Copa told the court last month that Wright’s claim was “a brazen lie and elaborate false narrative supported by forgery on an industrial scale”.

He added: “Dr Wright has consistently failed to supply genuine proof of his claim to be Satoshi: instead, he has repeatedly proffered documents which bear clear signs of having been doctored.”

But Wright’s lawyer shot back, saying that there was “clear evidence” that he created the digital currency, adding that Copa was “exclusively concerned” with undermining Wright’s claim and that if anyone else was Nakamoto, they or their associates would have come forward.

The trial came to an end on Thursday, when Mr Justice Mellor gave a ruling that Wright was in fact not the person behind the pseudonym and did not create Bitcoin.

In court, he said: “Having considered all the evidence and submissions presented to me in this trial, I’ve reached the conclusion that the evidence is overwhelming.”

Even more mysteriously, the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown. In a 2012 online profile he claimed to be a 37-year-old man living in Japan, but there have been various theories over the years as to who it could actually be.

Craig Hastings / Getty
Craig Hastings / Getty

Some believe it might be Hal Finney, who was a pre-Bitcoin cryptographic pioneer and was the first person apart from Nakamoto to use the software and make improvements. Others suggest it could be Nick Szabo, who is a decentralized currency enthusiast and published a paper on 'bit gold', one of the predecessors of Bitcoin.

But one thing’s for sure - Wright is off the list of possible candidates.

A Copa spokesperson said: “This decision is a win for developers, for the entire open source community, and for the truth.

“For over eight years, Dr Wright and his financial backers have lied about his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto and used that lie to bully and intimidate developers in the bitcoin community.

“That ends today with the court’s ruling that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.”

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / Bill Hinton / Contributor / Getty