COPA Trial Begins: Will Court Rule That Wright Is Not Satoshi?
With evidence of widespread document forgery, it's not looking good for Craig "Faketoshi" Wright.
The COPA trial has now begun, and it's set to be a landmark one for the crypto world. The community has been looking forward to this day for weeks, ever since the sheer scale of Craig Wright's fabrication of evidence became clear.
A Quick Recap
The case began as Craig Wright, self-proclaimed creator of Bitcoin, decided to sue a number of Bitcoin Core developers and major crypto companies (including Blockstream, Coinbase, and Block). Wright claimed that they violated his copyright of Bitcoin's white paper, as well as the Bitcoin file format and Bitcoin's blockchain database. The non-profit organization Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) took up their cause.
Despite claiming to be Satoshi, Wright has never proved this, despite the fact that signing a transaction with the key to one of Bitcoin's early blocks is a trivially simple way of doing so. Instead, he has submitted large amounts of "evidence" that have clearly been faked, such as "early" copies of the white paper that were backdated. Even his own expert has admitted as much.
This has quickly become the "Who created Bitcoin?" trial. After years of Wright's unverified claims, the crypto community is out for blood. Wright has come close to ruining a number of lives through legal action against those who have claimed he is lying about being Satoshi. Now, it's payback time.
Today will involve summary arguments. Tomorrow will see the main event: Cross examination of Craig Wright.
Is Wright's Downfall Imminent?
By all accounts, the courtroom will be packed with visitors from the Bitcoin community who want to see Wright get his comeuppance. These include Peter McCormack, a Bitcoin podcaster who was taken to court by Wright for claiming he was not Satoshi. That case ended with McCormack paying Wright just £1 after it became clear that Wright had fabricated evidence.
There is much speculation that, having faked so much evidence, Wright might be on the receiving end of the legal system, for a change. Depending on what the judge decides, he may face charges of fraud, perjury, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. There may be serious civil and criminal penalties.
It's not just Wright who stands to lose (what's left of) his reputation. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), the Bitcoin fork that Wright claims is the true Bitcoin, will doubtless suffer collateral damage. Then there is Calvin Wright, the billionaire who has staked his own reputation on Wright being Satoshi, and who is bankrolling his legal defense.
Christen Ager-Hanssen, a former exec at nChain (a blockchain services company that deals with BSV and Wright's IP), has publicly challenged Ayre to a bet. Ager-Hanssen was an early believer in Wright, but changed his tune when he saw first-hand evidence of Wright's forgery.
There's a sense in which this trial is about far more than the identity of Satoshi, though. While the crypto community wants to see Wright finally buried forever, this is also about Bitcoin as open-source software that anyone can use, anyone can adapt, and over which no one can ultimately claim ownership.
Or, as the crypto community puts it, "We are all Satoshi". Except, of course, Wright.
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on X/Twitter.