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Surrey computer scientist who claims he created Bitcoin launches legal action

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LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
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PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 14: In this photo illustration, a visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is on display on April 14, 2021 in Paris, France. The value of Bitcoin (BTC) has exceeded the threshold of 64,000 dollars for the first time in history. The Cryptocurrency overtakes the British Pound to become the 6th largest currency in the world. The total bitcoin market now represents $ 1.2 trillion, while that of all cryptocurrencies stands at $ 2251 billion. (Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Over the years, many people have claimed, or have been claimed, to be Nakamoto, including Wright who first made the claim in 2016. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

A man who has publicly claimed he is the creator of Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has launched legal action in London against website Bitcoin.org for copyright infringement.

Dr Craig Wright, 50, an Australian-born businessman and computer scientist based in Surrey, said he used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto to publish an academic paper in 2008 entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, which laid the foundations for the cryptocurrency.

The paper has subsequently become widely known among those interested in blockchain technology, blockchain-linked digital assets and cryptocurrencies.

The legal proceedings are against Cobra, which operates Bitcoin.org and centres around the website’s decision to publish the academic paper.

Satoshi Nakamoto is the name used by the presumed pseudonymous person (or persons) who developed Bitcoin, authored the Bitcoin white paper, and created its original reference implementation.

Over the years, many people have claimed, or have been claimed, to be Nakamoto, including Wright who first made the claim in 2016.

Others have included cryptographic pioneer Hal Finney, computer scientist Nick Szabo, and Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, whose birth name is Satoshi Nakamoto.

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Ontier LLP, Wright’s lawyers on the case against Bitcoin.org, said they had previously informed Cobra that it was infringing his copyright and requested that the paper was to be removed.

They said: "Similarly, Dr Wright does not wish to restrict access to his White Paper but does not agree that it should be used by supporters and developers of alternative assets, such as Bitcoin Core, to promote or otherwise misrepresent those assets as being Bitcoin given that they do not support or align with the vision for Bitcoin as he set out in his White Paper."

Cobra has previously said it was "cryptographically possible for someone to verify themselves to be Satoshi Nakamoto", but that "unfortunately, Craig has been unable to do this".

It added that it would "continue hosting the Bitcoin whitepaper and won’t be silenced or intimidated".

“Others hosting the whitepaper should follow our lead in resisting these false allegations,” Cobra said.

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A Twitter account which claimed to represent Cobra additionally questioned why some lawyers were “taking his claims seriously”.

"Craig Wright obviously isn’t the inventor of Bitcoin, as that would make him the 25th richest person in the world."

In April 2019, Wright registered US copyright in the Bitcoin white paper and the code for Bitcoin 0.1.

A spokesman for Wright told the Financial Times at the time that this was "the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin”.

However, the United States copyright office issued a press release clarifying that this was not the case, and that "the copyright office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author."

In May 2019, Wright started using UK libel law to sue those who denied he was the inventor of Bitcoin, and who called him a fraud, Bloomberg reported.

Wright has served legal notices to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH-USD), who called him a fraud, as well as Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin entrepreneur, and podcaster Peter McCormack.

It comes as Ethereum, the world's second cryptocurrency, continued to rally on Thursday, hitting a new high of $2,586 (£1,864), up roughly 14%.

Yahoo Finance has reached out to Ontier LLP for further comment.

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