Craig Wright Blasts 'Experts' Who 'Cannot Verify Their Work' at Trial Over Satoshi Claims

On Tuesday, he once again faced questions about a public blog post he'd signed cryptographically to prove he was Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto that experts have since debunked.

AccessTimeIconFeb 13, 2024 at 7:04 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 9:28 p.m. UTC
  • Craig Wright's cross-examination in the trial that could decide if his claims of having invented Bitcoin hold true continued Tuesday.
  • Wright insisted that the possession of private keys doesn't prove he's Satoshi, but his knowledge and work do, as he was asked why he'd failed to provide valid cryptographic proof.

Craig Wright on Tuesday lashed out at "experts" who "cannot verify their work" as he faced cross-examination in a trial that questions his claim of having invented Bitcoin – a claim the crypto industry has for years accused him of failing to verify.

"I hate that. I loathe it," Wright continued his passionate tirade until presiding Judge James Mellor intervened and asked the "lady in the back row," who was "nodding and shaking her head," to "just keep still" or risk removal.

Things got tense as the Australian computer scientist faced his sixth day on the witness stand while counsel for the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) probed documents and other material critical to Wright’s defense of being Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin.

On Tuesday, he was once again questioned about a public blog post he’d purportedly signed cryptographically to prove he was Satoshi that experts had since declared a hoax. One question was whether the "signing sessions" might be invalid because the keys Wright used could be obtained by someone other than Satoshi. ("Not at all," Wright replied)

He insisted that "identity" – say, that he’s Satoshi – cannot be proven by "possession" of the keys. "You don't prove by having identity through possession of something. You prove by knowledge. Who you are. What you create," Wright said.

When asked by COPA counsel Jonathan Hough to agree that producing "a signed message" as planned to prove he was Satoshi would not have posed a security risk of the private keys in question being figured out by others, Wright said: "The security risk is the security of my work, undermining the whole value of everything I've created. Not that the key will be taken."

The cross-examination continued for another full day, with Mellor intervening several times, including warning Wright that if he doesn’t answer a question, he’s going to "assume" he has no answer for it.

COPA tried to point out irregularities in Wright’s evidence and testimony provided in previous cases. In one instance, Wright changed his story on whether or not Dave Kleimann (someone Wright himself previously said was key to the invention of bitcoin – but disputed that claim Monday) was a trustee at Wright’s company Tulip Trading.

Wright will testify again on Wednesday, after which an expert witness for the defense may take the stand. The trial will continue for a few weeks more.

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.