COPA trial: ‘Very annoying’ Craig Wright was ‘into Japanese stuff’

Day 11 of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) v. Craig Wright trial featured cross-examination of Wright’s witnesses. On Monday, Qudos Bank CIO David Bridges, Wright’s cousin Max Lyman, and nChain co-founder Stefan Matthews took the stand. Among several revelations, Lyman admitted that he could not recall if Wright showed him Bitcoin’s original whitepaper.

For context, COPA is requesting that the UK High Court of Justice issue an injunction against Wright, a litigious supporter of Bitcoin SV (BSV), a hard fork of Bitcoin worth 99% less than BTC. COPA’s lawsuit centers on Wright’s claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin and author of its whitepaper.

In this lawsuit, for the first time, a judge will determine whether Wright owns the copyright to Bitcoin’s whitepaper. As plaintiff, COPA wants a global ban on Wright asserting authorship or copyright over it.

Monday was the beginning of the third week of proceedings — the most important of Wright’s career.

Qudos Bank CIO says Wright became ‘very annoying’

Qudos Bank CIO David Bridges said he met Wright in 2005. Qudos Bank is a mutual bank in Australia with approximately $5 billion in its retail deposit portfolios and Bridges confirmed that Wright had conducted cybersecurity penetration testing for its IT systems.

Bridges claimed that Wright had repeatedly given him many papers and documents and had become very annoying.

Bridges couldn’t say for certain whether Wright had shown him a document that COPA’s attorney referred to as a “criminal whitepaper,” saying only, “Possibly.” Nevertheless, Bridges considered it more likely that he had seen papers relating to forensics and IT security that probably included Wright’s work for Qudos Bank.

COPA’s lawyer who conducted the cross-examination of Bridges, Jonathan Hough, suggested that Wright had brought up the possibility of an interbank payment system with elements similar to blockchain while still working as Qudos Bank’s consultant. 

According to Hough, Bridges’ statement included Wright’s opinion that a system built on an early rendition of blockchain could replace SWIFT. Bridges confirmed his characterization but clarified that he didn’t grasp all the technical details of Wright’s opinion, especially those that would make the system that Wright described dissimilar from a true blockchain.

Read more: Explained: Interlinking CBDCs and their potential impact

Read more: Is Peter Thiel’s inner circle behind the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym?

Hough soon brought up ‘Bitcoin pizza,’ a reference to an early bitcoin transaction in which Laszlo Hanyecz famously paid 10,000 bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas in 2010. Bridges claimed that he had discussed the ‘Bitcoin pizza’ transaction with Wright. Bridges said he hadn’t heard of Bitcoin before that time.

Bridges confirmed his previous statements in which he guessed Wright was probably Bitcoin’s creator due to Wright’s interest in “Japanese stuff.” He denied being aware of any other candidates for the Satoshi Nakamoto moniker, a list that also includes the CIA, Dorian Nakamoto, David Schwartz, Adam Back, Nick Szabo, and many others.

Peter Thiel once speculated that he had met the real Satoshi Nakamoto during a conference between PayPal executives and E-Gold founders. This raised the possibility that Satoshi was capable of learning from others’ mistakes: Would he have learned from E-Gold’s failure?

Framed as a storyline that would support Wright’s claim to be Satoshi: Would doing penetration testing for banks like Qudos Bank have put ‘Satoshi’ in a position to learn about the financial environment that led to the Great Recession of 2008 — again, assuming Wright’s claims are true?

Once attorneys for both sides indicated that they had no more questions for Bridges, the judge released him. Then the court took a short break.

Max Lyman says Craig Wright might have sent the Bitcoin whitepaper

Due to a delay in the arrival of Stefan Matthews, Max Lyman took the stand out of regularly scheduled order.

Lyman confirmed having kept in touch with Wright via email. He couldn’t recall all the details of Wright’s employment history, though he mentioned some work for a casino. He also recalled the name ‘DeMorgan.’

Hough presented an email from 2008 in which Wright apparently mentioned credentials like a master’s degree in law and a Ph.D. in economics.

He confirmed that Wright had once asked him to “run some code” on a computer. According to Lyman, the reasoning was that he had an e-commerce business that needed Wright’s technical assistance. However, Hough did not say what Wright’s code did — only that his computer didn’t seem up to the task.

Later, Hough seemed to get a bit confused about the questions regarding ethical or white hat hacking.

In response to a critical clarification question during Monday’s cross-examination, Lyman did confirm that he had seen the Bitcoin whitepaper but wasn’t certain whether it came from Wright or not. He said Wright had sent him several documents, and a draft of the whitepaper could have been one of them.

He also admitted to not believing that Wright was Bitcoin’s creator — at least at first. He said he wasn’t sure how much Wright was involved in Bitcoin around that time, though he did think Wright had been involved in blockchain.

Lyman also seemed unfamiliar with the inner workings of the relationship between Wright and David Kleiman, including not knowing that Kleiman had kept records on mining at a server farm that he used to own. One document indicated that assets could be awarded according to the processing power each party provided, possibly indicating one nascent attempt at operating a mining pool. Lyman was apparently on a list of processing power providers that had been submitted as evidence in this month’s trial.

Read more: Three-judge panel says Craig Wright wasn’t in partnership with David Kleiman

Stefan Matthews: Calvin Ayre’s BSV holdings are ‘his business’

Stefan Matthews says he met Wright in 2005 and Calvin Ayre in 2011.

Matthews denied that Ayre made a direct cash investment in nChain when Hough brought up an alleged 500 million Swiss franc investment from August 2023. He did acknowledge that Ayre holds a stake in nChain, however, he denied that Ayre exerted any control over nChain when confronted with documents indicating otherwise.

Matthews acknowledged having been involved in promoting Wright’s assertion that he is Bitcoin’s creator. He said he was not directly involved with Wright’s initial announcement but did “spend time” on it. He also denied having directly funded Wright’s legal actions “except by paying salaries” as a routine matter of business.

Matthews tried to deny that nChain would receive any benefit if Wright could prove that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. However, when pressed, he acknowledged that nChain controls patents — likely the ones related to blockchain and digital assets. He also confirmed that his family held approximately $450,000 in BSV.

He was not sure how much, if any, BSV Calvin Ayre holds. When pressed about it, Matthews said, “His business, not mine.”

Despite the likely financial stake that Matthews’ family owns in BSV, Matthews feigned disinterest in pumping BSV’s price to prove that Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. He seemed more interested in promoting nChain’s technology, implying that a high BSV price would actually be bad for nChain’s business. Then he asked for some water and a quick break.

Hough countered the claim that nChain would not benefit by showing a document in which Craig Wright’s planned ‘reveal’ was discussed with The Satoshi Affair author Andrew O’Hagan. Matthews said that Robert MacGregor hired O’Hagan to write a book that was originally going to be about nChain.

Read more: Former nChain CEO claims Craig Wright is lying about Satoshi

Then Hough said that Wright “needed an explanation” for two hard drives that he had found. Matthews acknowledged having been dismissive about it due to being preoccupied with nChain business matters. When pressed, he maintained that Wright hadn’t done anything wrong.

Matthews then claimed that MacGregor had tried to threaten him into pulling out as a witness for a previous lawsuit around September 2013. Matthews says the harassment started after ex-nChain executive Christen Ager-Hanssen sent messages requesting an explanation for the hard drives in question.

This led to a little back-and-forth over whether Matthews ever thought Wright was lying. 

Hough took the position that Matthews documented his belief that Wright was faking it, probably to placate Ager-Hanssen after a disastrous mock trial. Matthews denied that instead maintaining that he wanted to move on and focus on nChain business matters.

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