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Tech News : Bogus Bitcoin Boffin

A High Court judge has ruled that Australian computer scientist Dr Craig Wright is not the inventor of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, despite him claiming to be so since 2016.

Real Bitcoin Inventor A Secret

The challenge with trying to conclusively identify Bitcoin’s inventor is that, from the outset, Bitcoin’s creator has only been known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and they have chosen to keep their real identity hidden. Also, the creation and early development of Bitcoin were done under this pseudonym, with all communications conducted online via emails and forums. With the additional complications of Bitcoin being a decentralised currency (i.e. not controlled by any single entity or individual) and the fact that no definitive evidence from numerous investigations has been found linking the pseudonym to a real individual or group of individuals, it’s possible to see why many people have claimed (or suspected) to be Bitcoin’s inventor.

Dr Wright

Dr Wright, who has claimed to be Satoshi for almost 8 years (challenged many people in court who have disputed his claims) has had his evidence questioned by cryptocurrency experts for some time now.

The Court Case

The recently concluded case against Dr Wright was brought by a consortium / alliance of Bitcoin companies called the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) as a way to stop what has been described as Dr Wright’s campaign of intimidatory lawsuits against anyone challenging his claim to be Bitcoin’s creator. The case was held at the Intellectual Property Court (a division of London’s High Court). There, the judge declared that the evidence against Dr Wright being Bitcoin’s creator is “overwhelming.” The four key declarations made by the judge (prior to writing the full, lengthy ruling) were that:

1. Dr Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin White Paper.

2. Dr Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011.

3. Dr Wright is not the person who created the Bitcoin system.

4. Dr Wright is not the author of the initial versions of the Bitcoin software.

Forgery For Fraud?

COPA’s KC, Jonathan Hough, accused Dr Wright of backing his claim with forgery ‘on an industrial scale’ and of trying to use the courts (through his many legal challenges) ‘as a vehicle for fraud’.

So, If Dr Wright Didn’t, Invent It, Who Did?

Over the years, there’s been a great deal of speculation as to the true identity of Bitcoin’s creator(s). Figures who have been suspected (although none have been proven) include:

– Dorian Nakamoto. In March 2014, a Newsweek article identified Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese-American physicist and systems engineer, as the Bitcoin creator. This speculation was based on similarities in name and background. Dorian Nakamoto has since denied any involvement with Bitcoin.

– Hal Finney. Hal Finney was a cryptographic pioneer and the second person (after Satoshi) to use the Bitcoin software, file bug reports, and make improvements. He also lived only a short distance (a few streets away) from Dorian Nakamoto. Finney denied being Satoshi but suspicions about him remain due to his early and deep involvement with Bitcoin and his background in cryptography.

– Nick Szabo. A computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer known for his research in digital contracts and digital currency. He developed a precursor to Bitcoin called “bit gold” in 1998, which shared many similarities with Bitcoin. Szabo has consistently denied being Satoshi.

– Wei Dai. Another figure linked to Bitcoin’s creation is Wei Dai, the creator of “b-money,” an early proposal for an autonomous digital currency mentioned in the Bitcoin whitepaper. Dai’s involvement in the cypherpunk movement and his innovative ideas about digital currency led some to speculate about his possible involvement with Bitcoin. However, Dai has denied being Satoshi.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

As highlighted in COPA’s comments after the ruling against DR Wright, developers in the Bitcoin community may have felt for many years as though they were being bullied and intimidated by Dr Wright and his financial backers’ many challenges to those who questioned his assertion that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. The ruling, therefore, is likely to have brought them some satisfaction and some peace, plus the hope that the legal challenges will now cease. Also, some see the ruling against Dr Wright as a win not just for the truth, but for the whole open-source community which is known for its focus on collaboration transparency, freedom, and inclusivity.

It’s also been noted that the judge’s willingness to comment on the outcome prior to the full written judgement being released is unusual and may be taken as a sign of how solid and sure the judgement was in this case.

Possible reasons why Bitcoin’s real creator has chosen to remain anonymous could include avoiding legal and personal repercussions, maintaining the decentralised ethos of the currency, and protecting their privacy and security. It may have been all part of what appears to be some very successful original planning on their part.

The culmination of the case coincided with Bitcoin reaching its highest value of $69,000 recently which the real inventor of the currency is, no doubt, privately enjoying.