Bad, Mad, Or Satoshi?

There are only a limited number of explanations for Wright's behavior.

How will this trial end?

It's early days in the COPA trial, which has rapidly been reduced to a legal exercise in proving or disproving that Craig Wright is Satoshi. The first day was used for "skeleton" arguments from both sides. Yesterday, today, and the next four days of the trial are devoted to cross-examination of Wright by COPA.

There are several great sources of information for what's going on in the courtroom in London. @BitNorbert is live tweeting the trial. BitMex Research is also there, giving occasional longer thoughts. Peter McCormack is there, though he is too busy eating popcorn to tweet very often.

Although we're less than three days in, the shape of things is becoming clear. There are, and always were, only three possible explanations for Wright's claims.

  1. He is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin
  2. He is lying in claiming to be Satoshi
  3. He is deluded, and genuinely believes he is Satoshi

In short, he is bad, he is mad, or he is Satoshi. We'll take a short look at each one in turn.


By now, only a few (though they are extremely vocal) BSV community members appear to believe that Craig Wright is Satoshi. Chief among them is billionaire Calvin Ayre, who has bankrolled Wright's legal actions and who regularly bangs the drum for him on Twitter. His crypto media website also has a strong pro-Wright slant.

What is notable about the BSV community is that they consistently put forward suggestions and interpretations of events that are diametrically opposed to the mainstream Bitcoiner view.

The idea that Craig is Satoshi is not impossible, but to believe it you have to sign up to the "5D Chess" theory. That is, the debunked claims, the inadequate and provably forged evidence, the train-wreck (at least so far) trial—all of this is an elaborate master plan with a design in mind, that ordinary people do not have the intellectual capacity to understand.

As Wright himself quoted from Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." We're yet to see convincing evidence that Wright is Satoshi. Occam's Razor points to the reason for that.


Right now, most people believe that Wright falls into the "dishonest" category. The takedowns of his evidence have been brutal, as experts have forensically dismantled the documents he submitted to the court, demonstrating that they can only be fakes. The UK media is now openly reporting that Wright has been accused of forgery on an "industrial scale".

One of the best examples of his evidence being torn to shreds is provided by Philip Sherrell, an analyst who provided a statement on behalf of COPA. Sherrell's claims, carefully substantiated, are remarkable, and are well worth a read. One of the most jaw-dropping items is that Wright accidentally provided evidence of his own forgery of documents he sent from a supposed "witness", when a photo supposedly from a third party ("Papa Neema") showed Wright himself logged into Google Chrome.

Screenshot of Sherrell document
Wright's last-minute evidence might be his undoing.

There is evidence of extensive lying, then, and slapdash document forgery. An obvious explanation is that Wright is projecting himself as Satoshi to increase his credibility in the blockchain industry and make money through the many patents he has filed. But there is another explanation.


One thing that has come through very strongly in the trial coverage is that Wright has an answer for everything. It doesn't matter if it raises more questions than it answers, whether it obfuscates the matter more than clears it up, whether it's highly unlikely, or whether it simply doesn't make sense. He has a reply to every question.

And one thing that comes across from that is that those answers are not just for the benefit of the court. They are equally an intrinsic part of a narrative Wright has constructed for himself.

The question is still open as to whether that is a narrative, or a fantasy. The former would make him dishonest. The latter would mean he is delusional.

The fact that he has gone to such extreme lengths to perpetuate the idea that he is Satoshi, providing vast amounts of "evidence" that was quickly debunked but that he continues to maintain is legitimate, suggests that there might be more going on than criminal behavior. In Wright's mind, maybe he really is Satoshi.

At this point, with the sheer weight of evidence and logic against him, it becomes harder and harder to explain Wright's behavior away as something other than serious mental illness.

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