Peters & Peters

High Court rules that self-proclaimed bitcoin creator is not ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’

Earlier this month, and after a six-week trial, the High Court ruled that Australian computer scientist Dr Crag Wright did not create bitcoin and neither did he author the Bitcoin White Paper.

Even for an industry long accustomed to controversy and to hitting the headlines, the verdict can be seen as a watershed moment.

Wright had claimed to be ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, the pseudonym used by the individual who had authored the Bitcoin White Paper.

The High Court had heard two cases: one brought by Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a non-profit set up to encourage the adoption of cryptocurrency technologies and to remove patents as a barrier to growth and innovation, over Wright’s claims that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. In the second case, Wright sued 26 blockchain developers, seeking recognition of alleged copyrights over the white paper and database rights over the whole bitcoin blockchain.

Mr Justice Mellor said that he will give his full judgment later, but in the meantime he wanted to make “declarations which… are useful and necessary to do justice between the parties”. He said:


“First, that Dr Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin White Paper. Second, Dr Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011. Third, Dr Wright is not the person who created the bitcoin system. And, fourth, he is not the author of the initial versions of the bitcoin software.

“Any further relief will be dealt with in my written judgment.”


Keith Oliver was quoted in City A.M. and the Law Society Gazette, commenting on the result. He said:


“Mr Justice James Mellor’s declaration that Mr Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto is a watershed moment for the crypto sphere. A formal decision will be hotly anticipated, but in the meantime, we can settle in to watch the inevitable shockwaves ripple through the crypto- market. With the Bitcoin Halving set for next month, and now this, it will be very interesting to watch events unfold.”