Satoshi Nakamoto fraud lawsuit earns 'Bitcoin inventor' Craig Wright just £1 in damages on 'false claims'
A London court dealt a blow to self-proclaimed Bitcoin inventor Craig Wright by awarding him only a pound sterling in damages as a verdict in his libel case against a blogger who tore down Craig's claim that he is behind the Satoshi Nakamoto collective that reportedly co-created the world's largest cryptocurrency. The blogger, Peter McCormack, issued the Satoshi Nakamoto claim rebuttal over a number of Twitter threads and YouTube videos back in 2019. McCormack called Craig Wright a "liar" and "moron" in those postings and the judge acknowledged that such words were "flippant in tone" yet "defamatory" and harmed Craig's reputation
The symbolic nominal damage verdict, however, was awarded on account of "deliberately false evidence" put forward by Craig's legal team before the trial. Mr. Wright argued that he'd been disinvited from speaking at 10 conferences in places as disparate as the US, France, Vietnam, Canada, or Portugal, following McCormack's tweets. The blogger's lawyers, however, submitted academic evidence (later withdrawn) that he had no invitations to such conferences. The court also couldn't find any tangible proof that Craig Wright had been called to speak about his peer-reviewed paper on crypto topics at any of the mentioned events with the exception of one, or that any invitations had been withdrawn after the series of defamatory tweets.
Thus, the main damage argument of Craig Wright was nullified by the court and it only found fair to award the least amount applicable by law "because he advanced a deliberately false case and put forward deliberately false evidence until days before trial,” commented Justice Chamberlain. Needless to say, his lawyers intend to appeal, as they say the false claims were "inadvertent."
Unfortunately, the mystery of whether Craig Wright is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto and an alleged Bitcoin protocol co-creator will remain so. McCormack's legal team earlier withdrew the defense of truth aspect of the trial in order to save on legal costs as that would've prolonged dramatically the proceedings, so Judge Chamberlain didn't have to find out who is, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto:
On 17 April 2019, Dr Wright issued this claim for libel in respect of the publications which had occurred by that time. The claim was amended to include the later publications. Initially, Mr McCormack pleaded a defence of truth. However, in late 2020, he abandoned that defence, saying that, otherwise, the trial would take about three weeks and he could not afford to pay for legal representation for such a trial. Accordingly, the identity of Satoshi is not among the issues I have to determine.
Earlier this year, at another "Satoshi Nakamoto trial" in Miami, the court ordered Craig Wright to pay US$143 million to one David Kleiman's estate and heirs for pillaging the IP that their shared W&K venture created around the blockchain tech behind the Bitcoin protocol. Both sides claimed victory there, as the initial ask from Kleiman's brother was for half of the first 1.1 million bitcoins mined, plus Craig Wright said that "the jury has obviously found that I am [Satoshi] because there would have been no award otherwise" at the time.