Craig Wright Told by UK Court to Stop Making ‘Irrelevant Allegations’ as COPA Trial Continues

Wright continued to blame a host of reasons and people for inconsistencies pointed out by opposing counsel on Monday as his cross-examination intensified.

AccessTimeIconFeb 12, 2024 at 6:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 13, 2024 at 12:09 p.m. UTC
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  • The second week of a highly anticipated U.K. trial that could decide if Australian computer scientist Craig Wright invented Bitcoin kicked off Monday.
  • During his cross-examination, Wright continued to place blame on a number of individuals and entities for inconsistencies in his arguments.

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright unleashed fresh allegations against several members of the crypto community and was in turn accused of offering different versions of the same story in court as his cross-examination in a trial over his claims of having invented Bitcoin (BTC) continued in a U.K. high court.

The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a nonprofit backed by crypto players such as Coinbase, Microstrategy and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, sued Wright in 2021, accusing him of committing forgeries of “an industrial scale” in trying to prove he is Satoshi.

The second week of the highly anticipated trial kicked off on Monday with Wright’s cross-examination by counsel COPA continuing for a fifth day.

In a particularly heated exchange following a lunch break, COPA counsel, Bird & Bird LLP’s Jonathan Hough, asked Wright to stop making “irrelevant allegations” and to “answer the question.” Wright had just accused COPA members of turning Bitcoin into a “money-go-up-token scam.”

When Wright protested, presiding Judge James Mellor intervened, saying arguments about the current state of the Bitcoin system were not going to help him make a judgment on the case – which is focused on whether or not Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous author of Bitcoin’s manifesto, called the white paper.

“Counsel is quite right to stop you because it sheds no light whatsoever on the issue I have to decide. Do you understand?” Mellor said, to which Wright replied: “I do.”

Since last week, COPA has been trying to poke holes in material – called “primary reliance documents” – that Wright has submitted to the court as evidence that proves he invented the popular cryptocurrency.

Wright continued to blame a host of reasons and people for inconsistencies pointed out by Hough. Similarities between a dissertation by Wright and a paper authored by Bird & Bird alum Hilary Pearson were blamed on an attribution error made by third-party editors. Wright also sought to blame his ex-wife Lynn Wright’s testimony in a previous case – that she didn’t recall him ever mentioning Bitcoin – on her battle with breast cancer.

Although he had previously testified in another case that he’d typed an email to the father of Dave Kleimann saying “Dave” and Wright were two of the “three key people behind bitcoin,” the computer scientist went back on his story Monday, saying he had someone under his employment type and send the email to make Kleimann’s father “feel proud” of his son. (He also said during the same exchange on Monday that he had typed the sentence but not the email itself.)

“The versions just keep changing, don't they?” Hough asked during that exchange, to which Wright replied: “No.”

Wright also insists he didn’t think much of Bitcoin at the time of its creation in 2009 – which he calls his invention.

“I thought it might get me either a partnership or a professorship with tenure. And that was about the extent of what I thought of my invention,” he said.

Wright’s cross-examination will continue at least through Wednesday, and the court may also consider a new “box” of evidence he said his wife has just discovered.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.


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