Craig S. Wright is the chief scientist at nChain. He is known for being the first to publicly allege that he is the true Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, as well as for his ongoing $10 billion legal battle related to his possession of his deceased friend and colleague's stash of 1.1 million BTC.
Craig Steven Wright was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1970. He has founded a number of IT companies, including Panopticrypt and DeMorgan Ltd, which attempted to open the world's first bitcoin-based bank, Denariuz.
In addition to attempting to create the world's first bitcoin-based bank, Craig Wright has asserted that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin's creator. There is a considerable amount of evidence to support this claim, including Wright's possession of an enormous amount of BTC - 1.1 million. (It has long been theorized that Satoshi has held 0.98 million BTC since he mined the first 50 blocks on bitcoin's blockchain).
Wright even allegedly "proved" it privately to Gavin Andresen, a programmer who worked closely with Satoshi during bitcoin's initial development. According to Andresen, Wright personally demonstrated his knowledge of one of Satoshi's private keys from the first 50 blocks on bitcoin's blockchain, which were only mined by Satoshi himself. He apparently did so by signing a message of Andresen's choosing using one of Satoshi's private keys from the original 50 blocks on the blockchain. Using a brand-new, factory-sealed computer, he installed Electrum and Wright wrote the message, signed it, and transferred it via USB stick owned by Andresen to his own computer. Andresen then allegedly verified the keys. Though Andresen remains "convinced" that Wright is Satoshi, many remain skeptical with some researchers saying he published a cryptographic representation of a 2009 bitcoin transaction.
In May 2016, he appeared to pull back from trying to prove he was indeed Satoshi, saying in a blog post "I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage."
In a document filed on February 15, 2019 with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in response to its request for input about the Ethereum protocol, Wright repeated his claim, writing, "My name is Dr. Craig Wright and under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto I completed a project I started in 1997 that was filed with the Australian government in part under an AusIndustry project registered with the Dept. of Innovation as BlackNet."
In April 2019, Wright registered himself with the U.S. Copyright Office as the pseudonymous author of the bitcoin white paper attributed to Satoshi Nakomoto. On May 22, 2019, a day after the news broke, the U.S. Copyright Office published a statement: “As a general rule, when the Copyright Office receives an application for registration, the claimant certifies as to the truth of the statements made in the submitted materials. The Copyright Office does not investigate the truth of any statement made...In a case in which a work is registered under a pseudonym, the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.”
On May 24, 2019, the CEO of a Chinese cryptocurrency market research firm, Wei Liu, registered a copyright for bitcoin's whitepaper, making him the second person to do so. Although he did not confirm whether or not he was Satoshi Nakamoto, he told Coindesk, "I filed it just to let people know anyone can register a copyright. Everyone can be Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright responded over Twitter with the message, "Now we can both show our credentials and see who ends up wearing an orange suit!"
On June 1, 2019, Wright was ordered by a Florida judge to produce a detailed report of all bitcoin he had ever mined by Monday, June 17, 2019; failing to do so would potentially put his ongoing libel suits in jeopardy, as well as making him liable for 1.1 million BTC.
In a February 13, 2020 blog post, Wright claimed, "As the sole creator of Bitcoin, I own full rights to the Bitcoin registry." Wright analogizes the bitcoin protocol to the use of open source software where the mere use of the software does not diminish the property rights to objects that are produced using the software. In the long post, Wright also claims the European Union's Databases Directive of 1997 applies and that all node operators and developers in the E.U and U.K. are immediately affected by his claim. Wri
According to Wright, "Satoshi Nakamoto" was, in fact, two people - himself and Dave Kleiman, who passed away in 2013 from complications related to a motorcycle accident. Kleiman's brother, Ira, filed a lawsuit against Wright for $10 billion. Kleiman, representing his brother's estate, alleges Wright falsified documents in order to transfer Dave Kleiman's bitcoins, which the brother's lawyers claim were worth $10 billion. The lawsuit also includes accusations of intellectual property theft. As the litigation proceeded, despite his arguing that physically attending the courtroom would cause him “unjustifiable hardship,” Wright was ordered by the court to appear in person at the Southern District Federal Courthouse in Miami, Florida, on June 18, 2019, for mediation of Ira Kleiman's claim.
In June 2019, Wright filed an intention to call witnesses at his deposition scheduled for June 28. Wright called two expert witnesses - a fact witness, and himself - to testify.
On July 3, 2019, Stephen Palley - an attorney working the case on behalf of the plaintiffs - posted documents provided by Wright to prove a trust deed, which Palley said were falsified. He posted the documents to show that, although Wright claimed the documents were had been created by David Kleiman's lawyers and signed by Kleiman before his death, the metadata of the file showed that the documents were actually created after Kleiman's death. Based on these "chronological discrepancies," Pally said that Wright had not only failed to prove his case, but was guilty of presenting fake documents to the court. On July 11, an expert witness specializing in forensics and cryptography, Dr. Matthew Edman, submitted a supplemental affidavit to the Southern District of Florida courthouse saying that documents submitted to the court by Wright were "modified" and "backdated." According to Edman, signatures supposedly stemming from David Kleiman were created almost a year after Kleiman died.
In August, Judge Beth Bloom denied a court request made by Wright in April, challenging Southern District of Florida’s jurisdiction over the ongoing lawsuit filed by the Kleiman estate. Wright argued that due to an entity oversight that was granted on W&K Info Defense Research - a firm at which, he claimed, he and David Kleiman were owners at various points - the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over court proceedings because the firm, which was based in Florida, had a "foreign national" - Uyen Nguyen - as its director. Judge Bloom denied this request, saying that Wright's case had failed to produce compelling evidence and that much of the evidence produced seemed contradictory, as though Wright was deliberately trying to obfuscate the facts behind W&K's ownership. "In weighing the evidence," she said, "the Court simply does not find the Defendant’s testimony to be credible.”
Later that month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who described Wright's conduct during the trial as willfully "in bad faith," ruled that the Kleiman estate owned half of all intellectual property created by Wright, as well as half of the bitcoins in his possession, saying that Wright "intentionally submitted fraudulent documents to the Court, obstructed a judicial proceeding, and gave a perjurous testimony. Wright responded that he "didn't know" where some of the bitcoins were, and that he may not have access to all of them. Judge Reinhart said that he didn't believe Wright, and that he is "not required to decide the amount of bitcoin, if any, that Dr. Wright controls today."
Wright's legal team attempted to fight the court order; first, with a non-binding settlement, then with an official objection on the grounds of "lack of jurisdiction." On December 16 Ira Kleiman's lawyer Velvel Freedman filed a request to overrule Wright's objections. In the filing, Freedman pointed out that in an interview conducted with Wright hours after one of Wright's court dates, Wright admitted that he lied in court, calling Judge Reinhart a "silly judge." Freedman's filing also described Wright as "recalcitrant," and declared that Wright would conduct similar conduct again if given the chance.
In May 2020, the plaintiffs filed a new motion against Wright. The motion alleged once again that Wright's presentation of the 145 unclaimed bitcoin addresses as evidence that he is Satoshi Nakamoto was fraudulent, and asked the court to issue case-terminating sanctions, including imposing judgment against Wright for bad faith conduct.
The motion used as evidence a message signed with the private keys, which the motion said were valid, meaning that the message was sent by the key's true owner(s). The message said, "Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn't have the keys used to sign this message...We are all Satoshi."
Craig Wright has been a promoter of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) since it was created in 2017. nChain, the company Wright co-founded with Jimmy Nguyen, has promoted BCH on nChain's company blog, saying that Bitcoin Cash "fulfills the Satoshi Nakamoto vision of a global peer-to-peer electronic cash system...that is why merchants should want Bitcoin Cash." nChain has also spent considerable effort developing applications and software development kits (SDKs) to help develop the BCH protocol.
On November 15th, Bitcoin Cash underwent a hard fork, following a long series of bitter arguments between two camps in the Bitcoin Cash community about how to upgrade the protocol. The fork officially created Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV, which initiated an intense conflict between miners in the formerly whole BCH community. Miners supporting one side or the other pooled their hash power in an effort to overwhelm the opposing side. Before the conflict began, Wright made public threats that programmers supporting Bitcoin Cash SV would perform hacking attacks that would destroy the ABC blockchain. Before the conflict began, SV consolidated enough hashing power to theoretically carry the attacks out. During the conflict, Wright began posting a series of combative tweets about Bitcoin Cash ABC, as well as posting an article on Medium.com entitled, "Present liability schemes and sanctions." He also allegedly sent an inflammatory email to Roger Ver, who supported the ABC upgrade, along with Bitcoin.com.
In April 2019, Craig Wright began arguing with a Twitter user called "Hodlnaut," a bitcoin user who became known for the "Lightning Torch" experiment, which was a promotional demonstration of the Lightning Network's capabilities. After achieving a large Twitter following, Hodlnaut made public posts criticizing Wright, who later sent Hodlnaut a letter accusing the Twitter user of being a "fraud," and threatening legal action. This triggered a huge wave of support for Hodlnaut, as well as renewed hate for Wright, from thousands of Twitter users.
Binance later announced it would delist BCHSV. Binance's CEO Changpeng Zhao said over Twitter that Wright is a "fraud," and that "anyone who supports BSV from a tech perspective should be attacking the fraudulent Craig Wright, who is poisoning YOUR community, and not attack the rest of the world." He also said that "Anyone thinking CW is Satoshi should read about how a private key works, ie, learn about crypto;" this comment was made in reference to the controversial method by which Wright allegedly "proved" to Gavin Andresen and others that he is Satoshi Nakamoto.
Later that month, Shapeshift announced that it would also delist BCHSV. Kraken announced that it would be doing the same, citing "community sentiment" around Bitcoin Cash SV as their primary reason for doing so. According to the announcement, Kraken planned on disabling BCHSV deposits on April 22, cease trading pairs on April 29, and stop withdrawals of BCHSV May 31. The BCHSV community responded with ire. Ed Pownall, a PR representative of Calvin Ayre, founder of CoinGeek.com and one of SV's biggest supporters, accused these exchanges of "market manipulation" and "playing God," and that delisting BCHSV sets "a dangerous precedent."
Craig Wright is arguably one of the most controversial people in the crypto space. In addition to the multiple lawsuits that have been filed against him, Wright has inspired the ire of many cryptocurrency figures, including Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. Buterin and others have accused him of misrepresenting the technological capabilities of many projects, due to ignorance, dishonesty, or both. Buterin even went so far as publicly to call him a "fraud" at the Deconomy conference in Seoul, South Korea in 2018. Buterin has repeated this claim numerous times over Twitter.
Craig Wright attended Northumbria University from 2005 to 2008, where he received a Master of Laws degree in International trade/commerce/business with commendations. He also studied at Newcastle University from 2006 to 2009, where he received a Master of Statistics degree. In 2014, he received a PhD in computer science and economics from Charles Stuart University.
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