Edited highlights from the bowels of Craig Wright

FT Alphaville was at the start of the performance art project known as Craig Wright. We are therefore obliged to mark the end of what should be (but probably won’t be) his final act.

A British court ruled in March, after a month-long trial, that Wright was not Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin. The Crypto Open Patent Alliance, an industry group, had filed the case in an attempt to halt its legal actions against bitcoin developers.

Today the full judgment (PDF) was published, which runs to 231 pages, with a 150-page appendix detailing the many forgeries presented to the court. The summary on the first page is a concise scene-setter:

Dr. Wright presents himself as an extremely smart person. However, in my opinion, he is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Both in his written testimony and in the days of oral testimony under cross-examination, I am fully convinced that Dr. Wright lied extensively and repeatedly to the Court. Most of his lies involved the documents he forged that purported to support his claim. All his lies and forged documents supported his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

Here are a few more highlights.

Wright can’t be Satoshi, Satoshi was cool

Emails and early message board posts related to Satoshi “give the impression of a calm, knowledgeable, collaborative, meticulous person with little or no arrogance, willing to acknowledge and entertain ideas and suggestions from others who had expressed an interest in Bitcoin implement,” said Judge James Mellor. say. In the meantime . . .

The picture that Dr Wright painted in his evidence was essentially that he was solely responsible for creating Bitcoin, that he was far smarter than anyone else, that anyone who questioned his claim or his evidence did not qualified or simply didn’t. don’t understand what he said. In my opinion, the arrogance he displayed was at odds with what emerges from Satoshi’s writing. In short, in his writing and attitude, Dr. sounds or acts. Wright just isn’t like Satoshi.

Trying to claim ownership of bitcoin through the courts is a very un-Satoshi thing to do, the judge concludes. Congratulations, you played yourself, he chooses not to add.

The judge is done with crypto fuss

Anyone who has ever spent time among token traders will be familiar with their cult-like insistence that all disagreements stem from ignorance. Judge Mellor doesn’t want to hear it:

I recognize that Dr. Wright will not agree with my findings and this judgment, and true to the form he has shown on numerous occasions during his oral testimony in relation to the expert evidence, he may well argue that I have rejected his technical explanations or other aspects. of technology.

Blockchain etc. is “not particularly complex or difficult to understand”, says the judge. But while Wright was given a chance to explain himself, he was “just engaging in technobabble.”

Wright’s method was to stuff a grain of truth into a popcorn bucket full of lies, making it almost “impossible to pinpoint every lie,” the judge concluded. It would be a waste of time to expose every untruth, because “Wright would simply make up more lies in his efforts to cover up existing lies.”

In the land of the blind. . .

As the verdict says:

It’s clear that Dr. Wright has a well-developed ability to convince people of his technical acumen, even if they don’t quite understand what he’s talking about. In other words: he can tell a good story.

What has been counterfeited?

What not? This is how the appendix begins:

To avoid formulating essentially the same conclusions forty times, I can start by saying that I consider all allegations of falsification proven.

One of the more colorful examples involves the credit card that Wright says purchased the bitcoin.org domain registration in 2008. Wright provided screenshots – purportedly proof of purchase – dating back to 2018, when it was no longer possible to access the data for the card. .

When he was called in for the forgery, Wright said he didn’t remember how he bought the domain name, and that he got the screenshots from a lawyer from a previous trial who had since died, and the lawyer sent them to him. by an anonymous Reddit user.

This didn’t make much sense. Wright had said in April 2019 that he could prove the domain purchase with credit card information. The mysterious Reddit user didn’t appear to post the evidence until two months later.

Asked to explain how a Reddit user accessed his spending information, Wright said the card in the screenshot was canceled in 2005, but was shown to have been used at Lee Rowan’s Gardenworld in 2009.

And so it went on. Wright “could not put forward any coherent explanation for the forgeries that had been exposed, and yet he could not bring himself to accept that he was responsible for them,” the verdict said.

Being on the spectrum is not an excuse

Wright says he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2020. Because of the condition, he was sometimes portrayed in court as a vulnerable witness who would act emotionally and impulsively.

The judge didn’t believe it:

Wright turned out to be an extremely slippery witness. In many answers he added a small qualification. He rarely gave a full answer and this was intentional – he was giving himself a way out for later. At times he was extremely pedantic. Initially I was inclined to give him some space because of his ASD, but his pedantry was inconsistent. He was pedantic when it suited him, and not when it didn’t suit him.

Wright’s witnesses had some problems

Stefan Matthews, co-founder of blockchain consultancy nChain, was the last of Wright’s witnesses to be called. nChain had hired Wright as an advisor, and its main backer, Canadian businessman Calvin Ayre, once supported Wright’s claim that he was Satoshi.

Wright claimed he shared the bitcoin white paper with Matthews in 2008, a claim the judge rejected. The argument was partially undermined by a WhatsApp message from Matthews to Christen Ager-Hanssen, the former CEO of nChain:

Matthews clearly believed that Dr. Wright was a fake. In response to a message in which Dr. Describing Wright as the “biggest fake ever”, Mr Matthews replied: “Fuck. WTF is wrong with him. Well, at least we have NCH [nChain] to focus on, that’s not fake.”

A mock trial organized by Wright’s supporters concluded that he was lying

In September 2023, nChain organized a dress rehearsal where Wright was questioned by a criminal lawyer. The judge hired to preside over the mock trial found Wright’s Satoshi claim to be false.

Ayre immediately withdrew his support and sent Wright an email to call him an idiot. Ager-Hanssen posted the email on Twitter. Wright claimed in court that Ager-Hanssen conspired with COPA. The judge called this “another lie.”

[checks notes]

Another witness called by Wright’s team was Robert Jenkins, formerly of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Under cross-examination, Jenkins claimed that Wright showed him a precursor to bitcoin called Timecoin in 2009 or 2010. It was a statement that was not included in his witness statement, so it appears to have been intended ‘as a bomb about to go off’. says the judge.

But when he gave his testimony, Jenkins referred to a note with the word “Timecoin” written on it. When asked about this, Jenkins said he had written the note to himself during cross-examination, “while it was clear to everyone in the court that he had not.”

Timecoin cannot time travel

Wright said he received the lost 2008 Timecoin document by email from a “Papa Neema” last September and discovered an identical copy on an old hard drive five days later. Despite being based in Nairobi, Neema’s emails had a British time stamp.

The judge concluded that Timecoin “was subsequently created from the Bitcoin White Paper and edited in such a way as to appear to be precursor work,” and that Wright sent himself an email.

Probably not a *master* forger

The “Papa Neema” emails also included some invoices that Wright claimed were created on different dates over four years, but all spelled “Invoive” instead of “Invoice.”

Care with spelling was not Wright’s forte. In technical documents, his “inconsistent and misspelled term ‘opcode’ was a small indication that he was explaining something outside his knowledge or experience,” the judge said. He also commonly misspelled Adam Back, the inventor of Hashcash, an early proto-crypto project referenced in the Bitcoin white paper that Wright claimed to have written, as Black.

One of Wright’s claims was that if he used to be falsify documents, he would do a better job at it. The judge didn’t buy it either.

Wright said in a tweet that he plans to appeal the verdict, also taking the opportunity to promote his latest thing:

And as if to settle the matter:

👍

Read further
— He’s not Satoshi, he’s a very naughty boy (FTAV)
— Craig Wright is not officially “recognized” as Satoshi in any way (FTAV)
– Etc.

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