U.K. Court Freezes £6M of Craig Wright’s Assets in Bitcoin Creator Claim

Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, has had £6 million ($7.6 million) of his assets frozen by a United Kingdom court. This has been done to prevent him from evading court expenses associated with his false assertion of being Nakamoto. The decision came after Wright moved some of his assets out of the UK following a court ruling disproving his claim. As a result, he transferred shares of his London firm to a Singaporean entity. The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) requested a ‘worldwide freezing order’ to address their court expenses of $8,471,225 (£6,703,747.91), and the judge endorsed this request.

COPA, founded in 2020, aims to advance cryptocurrency technologies and remove patents as a barrier to growth and innovation. The alliance consists of 33 members, including major companies in the crypto industry such as Coinbase, Block, Meta, MicroStrategy, Kraken, Paradigm, Uniswap, and Worldcoin. Wright used his claims of being Nakamoto to file copyright assertions related to the Bitcoin network, including demanding the removal of the Bitcoin white paper from two websites in January 2021. COPA filed a lawsuit against Wright in April 2021, disputing his claims and asserting that he does not hold the copyright to Bitcoin.

After hearing testimonies from early Bitcoin developers, the judge concluded on March 14, 2022, that there is overwhelming evidence suggesting that Wright is not Nakamoto. Wright has been involved in other legal battles regarding copyright violations. In 2023, he sued 13 Bitcoin Core developers and several companies, including Blockstream, Coinbase, and Block, for copyright violations related to the Bitcoin white paper, its file format, and the rights to the Bitcoin blockchain. The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund responded to this lawsuit, highlighting the detrimental effects of abusive lawsuits on prominent Bitcoin contributors, such as hindering development due to the associated time, stress, expenses, and legal risks.

In 2019, Wright filed for United States copyright registration for the Bitcoin white paper and its code. The white paper is now subject to an MIT open-source license, meaning that anyone can reuse and modify the code for any purpose. The recent court ruling to freeze Wright’s assets aims to prevent him from making further copyright claims on the white paper. It is yet another development in the ongoing legal battle surrounding Wright’s claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto and his attempts to assert copyright ownership over Bitcoin’s original documentation and code.

Rey Cevallos

Rey Cevallos

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