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COPA Trial Verdict: Satoshi Nakamoto’s Identity Remains Unknown

UK court crushes Craig Wright's controversial attempt to claim the crown of Bitcoin creator

U.K. Judge James Mellor definitively declared that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, nor the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper. During the closing arguments of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) trial, Judge Mellor remarked on the "overwhelming" evidence presented over the month-long trial. His forthcoming ruling will encompass several key declarations: 

“First, that Dr. Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin white paper. Second, Dr. Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011. Third, Dr. Wright is not the person who created the Bitcoin System. And, fourth, he is not the author of the initial versions of the Bitcoin software,” 

Mellor announced. This decision came after COPA initiated legal action in 2021, aiming to halt Wright's claims over Bitcoin's intellectual property and prevent him from suing members of the crypto community. This judgment marks a vital moment, discrediting Wright's long standing assertions and potentially influencing related legal battles involving high-profile entities within the crypto space.

COPA's legal victory and its implications

A COPA spokesperson celebrated the outcome, stating: 

“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.” 

The litigation initiated by COPA in 2021 aimed to prevent Wright from asserting intellectual property claims over Bitcoin's technology and from taking legal action against developers and others in the community. The trial's conclusion not only reinforces the open-source nature of Bitcoin's technology but also impacts other cases involving Wright. Justice Mellor's decision to halt Wright's lawsuits against Coinbase and Jack Dorsey’s Block, pending this trial's outcome, underscores the trial's extensive repercussions.

Freedom of expression vs. legal restrictions

The legal battle between Craig Wright and the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) brought to light a nuanced debate on freedom of expression. Before Judge James Mellor outlined his intentions for the written judgment, Wright's counsel, Lord Anthony Grabiner, contested COPA's motion for injunctions that would bar Wright from claiming he is the Bitcoin creator. Grabiner argued: 

"such a prohibition is unprecedented in the U.K.," 

He described the possible injunction as "sinister" and a threat to Wright's legal rights. Conversely, COPA's solicitor, Jonathan Hough, highlighted the trial's core issue: Wright's "campaign of litigation" against the crypto community, leveraging his claimed identity as Satoshi Nakamoto. 

The back-and-forth on this matter underscores the delicate balance between protecting individuals' rights to free speech and preventing false claims that could mislead the public and harm communities.