UK Court Agrees to Hear Copyright Lawsuit Brought by Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor

UK Court Agrees to Hear Copyright Lawsuit Brought by Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor
Photo: Ina Fassbender, Getty Images

Many people have claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator or creators behind the digital cryptocurrency bitcoin, over the years. Now London’s High Court has agreed to hear out one of the most vocal (and disputed) claimants to the pseudonym in a lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement, according to a Reuters report.

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who claims to have developed the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, is reportedly suing the operator and publisher of the website, which goes by the pseudonym Cobra. The defendant has not disclosed a name, identity, or address, according to court filings issued on Wednesday and reviewed by the outlet on Thursday.

When Wright was initially singled out as the supposed inventor of bitcoin in 2015, the news prompted widespread scepticism among security experts, several of whom went on to call it an elaborate hoax. Investigations throughout the years since have reportedly identified inconsistencies in Wright’s claims and debunked both his credentials and supporting evidence as fraudulent.

Wright, who resides in Britain, accuses Cobra of copyright infringement for controlling the website and demands that the site remove bitcoin’s white paper, aka the 2008 document published by Nakamoto that originally outlined the technology behind the digital currency.

Cobra has previously dismissed Wright’s claims, calling them “without merit” in a blog published to in January. In a Twitter message to Wright’s lawyers that same month, Cobra said Wright’s copyright claims “can be easily verified to be false” and pointed out that the website isn’t based in the UK, according to court filings reviewed by Reuters.

Cobra dismissed Wright’s claims once more in a statement to Reuters on Thursday:

“We’ve been threatened to take down the Bitcoin white paper by someone who obviously isn’t the inventor of Bitcoin (if he was, that would make him the 25th richest person in the world, which he obviously isn’t). Seems like he’s trying to abuse the UK courts to make them try to censor the white paper and harass small websites like us providing education content with his behaviour.”

Whether Cobra will be forced to reveal their identity to defend themselves during this case remains unclear. As for Wright, his legal team seems confident in their chances.

“The case will turn on whether the court is satisfied that Dr. Wright did indeed author — and owns the copyright in — the White Paper and, therefore, that he is Satoshi Nakamoto,” Simon Cohen, who is representing Wright, told Reuters.

Demand for bitcoin has increased dramatically in recent years, with several major financial institutions such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, and Square backing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Last week, its value soared in the lead up to Coinbase’s direct listing, reaching a record high of nearly $US65,000 ($84,149).