Last week, there was a bombshell in the ongoing Satoshi Nakamoto search saga. On Tuesday, 21 May, Australian computer scientist and businessman Craig Wright filed US copyright registrations for the Bitcoin white paper, followed by much backlash online.
One news report published the same day claimed that US officials had received confirmation Wright was indeed Nakamoto as he has claimed to be since 2015, while court documents show the US Copyright office accepted his registration as the author of the Bitcoin white paper and most of the cryptocurrency’s original code.
Yet, the cryptocurrency community has offered very little support for his claims, the small amount available coming almost entirely from Wright’s closest supporters.
The copyright does not definitively prove anything
An in-depth analysis investigating the legal merits of Wright’s claims found that no real evidence of Bitcoin authorship was required to be presented to the Copyright Office, making it highly unlikely he offered them any proof that he had authored Nakamoto’s works.
Further, a statement from the Copyright Office said outright it did not ”investigate the truth of any statement made“, nor were any investigations made by the Office.
So, the question is raised why Wright would go to the effort to file the copyright claim if it does not prove anything. There are several suspicious factors at play.
Wright backs the cryptocurrency Bitcoin SV (BSV), which unsurprisingly experienced an enormous jump +120% in price when he made the copyright announcement. Speculations have been made that he was attempting to use the announcement for just such a price pump.
Jimmy Nguyen, the president of the Bitcoin Association, which happens to supports Bitcoin SV and owns the Bitcoin SV client software, expressed delight at the news, saying, “We are thrilled to see Craig Wright recognized as the author of the landmark bitcoin white paper and early code.”
The Australian businessman has also been coming down hard on people challenging his claims to be Nakamoto — his disbelievers have been prominent since he first made the claims. Wright’s lawyers served Bitcoin podcast host Peter McCormack a GBP 100,000 (USD 127,000) claim for refusing to retract and apologize for his claims Wright was lying, while blockchain Twitter personality Hodlonaut has been threatened on the same basis.
Wright’s actions against those outspoken against him earned Bitcoin SV delisted from multiple exchange platforms including Kraken and Shapeshift.
What the internet thinks
The outstanding opinion shared by the internet would appear skeptical of Wright’s claims, to say the least.
Damn!!! My lawnmower mechanic was going to file a copyright for the same paper next week. I told him he should have acted sooner. pic.twitter.com/SeTarGauD4
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) May 21, 2019
Indeed, copyrighting Bitcoin would appear an action at great odds with the ideology behind the open-source cryptocurrency in the first place. The cryptocurrency community at large is throwing itself against Wright’s copyright claim. He has indeed found himself in a difficult situation, but it does not look like he will be standing down any time soon.
— Simon Turner (@simontvrner) May 22, 2019
It is unlikely he would make a new copyright claim and take legal action against Bitcoin or BCH developers as this would require him to prove his identity as Nakamoto. His failure to do so could result in prosecution of fraud against him. Although, if he truly is who he says he is, this would not be an issue for him.
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