Craig Wright Should Pay Plaintiffs' Legal Bill After Found Posing as Satoshi, COPA Says

The COPA vs Craig Wright trial made a resurgence on Friday to determine what costs and penalties Wright might suffer.

AccessTimeIconJun 7, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 7, 2024 at 9:34 p.m. UTC
  • The Crypto Open Patent Alliance is demanding that Craig Wright pay 85% of its legal costs.
  • COPA took Wright to court in February to find out if he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin.
  • The presiding judge of the case, James Mellor, ruled that Wright was not Nakamoto in March.

The Crypto Open Patent Alliance's (COPA) legal representatives on Friday asked Judge James Mellor to grant that Craig Wright pay 85% of the costs the group incurred in the legal proceedings.

COPA took Wright to a U.K. court in February to find out, once and for all, if he was the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, after Wright had taken members of the crypto community to court over the years under the premise that he was Nakamoto. The English court ruled in COPA's favor in March that Wright was not the creator of bitcoin and that he did not author the bitcoin whitepaper.

Jonathan Hough, one of COPA's legal representatives, asked that Wright be given a civil restraint order to stop him from pursuing any other legal court cases, because "he has poured out threats." COPA also offered to submit a list of online posts that Wright should take down.

Hough said that this case should also be put forward for criminal proceedings following the courts judgement that Wright committed multiple forgeries during the trial. The Bitcoin developers who joined this case also asked that Wright pay for 85.2% of their costs.

Unless Wright was prevented from doing so, he would continue to "propagate lies," Hough argued.

“There is a powerful public interest in them [lies] being brought to an end now,” Hough said, pointing to the litigation that spanned more than five years that Wright had brought against COPA members such as Coinbase Inc. (COIN) and Kraken, among others.

Hitting back

Wright's defense argued that not clarifying the perimeters in which Wright can say he is Nakamoto could infringe on his human rights.

“What if Dr. Wright sent an email to a medical professional asserting he was Satoshi that’s a publication of a statement,” Craig Orr, Wright's lawyer said, adding that the suggestion that Wright take down all his posts was "parasitic." His defense also asked that the amount Wright pays be brought down to 70% of the costs COPA incurred.

The room was filled with people from the legal world that sought to see the end of this trial. They were able to hear Hough playing back Wright's own words in an Oxford Union video from 2019.

“Yes, there is altered pages,” Wright said in the video that bellowed across the court room.

“So, I’m going to court on this; I don’t need to face trolls in rooms. You know what happens when you lie in the court; you know what happens for court perjury you get 20 years. That’s how real things work in the real world outside of the crypto Twitter-storm world. In the real world, people have evidence and rules."

The judge was inundated by lawyers jumping in to defend clients like Coinbase, who offered new thoughts and didn't agree fully with some of the cost figures that were presented.

Mellor, whose expression shifted from certain to ever-more-pensive as the trial went on, decided at the end of it he could not give a judgement at that moment, but he said he'll give a decision on costs first before making a decision on what kind of injunctive relief the court would seek. Injunctive relief is a measure from the court that would seek to prevent defendants from doing something.

The court didn't immediately provide information to CoinDesk seeking more information in the exact timing of the judgement.

Edited by Jesse Hamilton.


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Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.