Craig Wright v. Peter McCormack: Wright Put Forward 'False Evidence,' Will Receive Damages of One British Pound

Wright had sued McCormack for libel after the popular podcaster called him "a liar" and "a fraud" in 2019.

AccessTimeIconAug 1, 2022 at 12:26 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:13 p.m. UTC

U.K. High Court Judge Martin Chamberlain has ruled that Craig Wright, the Australian scientist who claims to be Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, advanced false evidence in his defamation case against Peter McCormack.

Though finding that comments made by McCormack caused "serious harm" to Wright's reputation, the judge awarded Wright only nominal damages of one British pound (US$1.23) — barely enough to buy a candy bar.

The legal battle concerned a 2019 discussion – later broadcast on YouTube – in which McCormack said Wright "is not Satoshi" and called him a liar and a fraud. Wright's case against McCormack centered on his claim that such comments caused him financial damage after he was disinvited to speak at various events and conferences.

Chamberlain, however, concluded that Wright had "advanced a deliberately false case as to the dis-invitations from academic conferences." Thus, the judge said, there would be "no injustice" in awarding just the one pound.

In a statement distributed by his lawyers, Wright said, "I intend to appeal the adverse findings of the judgment in which my evidence was clearly misunderstood."

Craig Wright has been involved in a number of legal battles emanating from his claims to be the inventor of the Bitcoin system.

Nobody knows the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, who published the Bitcoin white paper in 2008 and released the first version of its software the following year. He faded from the community in subsequent years, leaving the trail of his true identity to run cold.

UPDATE (14:45 UTC Aug. 1 2022): Adds line on Craig Wright's intent to appeal the decision.


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Jamie Crawley

Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.