Craig Wright Witness Defends Saying Headed for ‘Train Wreck’ With COPA Trial

Stefan Matthews said the damning message referred to poor trial prep and not Wright’s claims to being Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.

AccessTimeIconFeb 19, 2024 at 6:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 9:42 p.m. UTC
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  • Three witnesses for Craig Wright took the stand on Monday as the third week of a trial that could decide if he's Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto kicked off in a U.K. high court.
  • A key witness, Stefan Matthews, had to defend a damning statement he made about the trial, which invited questions about whether he thought Wright was disingenuous.

"We're heading into a f***ing train wreck."

That's how Stefan Matthews, a witness for Craig Wright, described the U.K. trial probing the latter's claims that he invented the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

Matthews, the co-founder of tech company nChain – where Wright was chief scientist – had to defend that January message when he took the stand on Monday along with two other witnesses for Wright as the third week of trial kicked off.

Under oath, Matthews said he was referring only to how "uncooperative Craig was in his strategy and plan" for the trial and insisted he didn't think Wright was a "fake."

A set of prominent crypto industry participants, comprising the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) and a grouping of Bitcoin developers, have challenged Wright's claims that he is the cryptocurrency's pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Since the trial started on Feb. 5, Wright has been cross-examined for several days, followed by witnesses from his camp.

Before Matthews took the stand on Monday, David Bridges, CIO of Qudos Bank, who met Wright in 2006, and Wright's cousin Max Lynam participated by video link. Both admitted that key events or conversations that convinced them Wright was Satoshi took place years ago and without material proof to back them up.

Bridges has previously drawn parallels between Bitcoin's underlying technology blockchain and an event logging system created by Wright, saying both systems record transactions, and have "good traceability" and immutability.

When asked by COPA counsel if the parallel Bridges had drawn between the two systems was a conceptual one instead of a technical one – specifically referring to code – he said he didn't have the expertise to make a detailed technical comparison.

"Oh, I wouldn't know, mate," Bridges said.

He also said he's not big on following the crypto, referring to Vitalik Buterin as the "Russian guy" who invented that "other one" – meaning popular cryptocurrency ether.

"I'm not a fanboy or anything like that," he added.

Matthews will continue to testify until lunchtime Tuesday, after which Steve Lee and John MacFarlane, may take the stand for COPA, a spokesperson for the alliance told CoinDesk.

The trial will continue at least until mid-March, according to tentative schedules shared by the court.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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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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