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Bitcoin founder mystery deepens as court dismisses Satoshi Nakamoto claims

 (Lucy North/PA Wire)
(Lucy North/PA Wire)

A judge has ruled that an Australian computer scientist who claims he is the mysterious creator of bitcoin is not the pseudonymous inventor ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.

Dr Wright’s claims were dismissed in London’s high court on Thursday following a trial brought forward by the non-profit Crypto Open Patent Alliance, whose members include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Dr Wright had claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the author of a 2008 bitcoin white paper that first introduced the world to cryptocurrency. Prosecutors accused him of “industrial scale” forgery in his efforts to sue bitcoin developers for using the technology.

Judge James Mellor said on Thursday that Wright was not Satoshi and that he would give his full reasons for his decision at a later date.

“This decision is a win for developers, for the entire open source community, and for the truth,” a spokesperson for COPA said.

“For over eight years, Dr Wright and his financial backers have lied about his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto and used that lie to bully and intimidate developers in the bitcoin community. That ends today with the court’s ruling that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.”

Other industry figures welcomed the ruling, saying that it would help preserve the open-source nature of bitcoin.

“Satoshi understood the value of decentralisation and built bitcoin so that it could not be controlled by a single person or entity,” a spokesperson for the crypto exchange Kraken told The Independent.

“We’re pleased the court recognised the overwhelming evidence that categorically settles that Wright is not Satoshi.”

Justice Mellor found that the evidence against Dr Wright was “overwhelming,” ruling that he was not the author of the bitcoin white paper, not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, and not the author of the initial versions of the Bitcoin software.

COPA lawyer Jonathan Hough said that “there are elements of Dr Wright’s conduct that stray into farce”, citing his alleged use of ChatGPT to produce forgeries.

But he added: “Dr Wright’s conduct is also deadly serious. On the basis of his dishonest claim to be Satoshi, he has pursued claims he puts at hundreds of billions of dollars, including against numerous private individuals.”

Bitcoin has been trading at record price highs this week, but more than 15 years after its creation, it is still not known who invented the world’s first cryptocurrency.

Additional reporting from agencies.