COPA v. Craig Wright nears final ruling on Bitcoin’s whitepaper

The biggest trial of Craig Wright’s life, the self-proclaimed creator of Bitcoin, is less than two weeks from its conclusion. On Friday, the eccentric computer scientist testified for the final time in an attempt to convince a judge that he wrote Bitcoin’s whitepaper as Satoshi Nakamoto.

Wright is defending against well-capitalized plaintiffs, the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), and is fighting for his right to sue Bitcoin developers and influencers for using what he believes to be his intellectual property.

Wright and his ultrawealthy colleague Calvin Ayre are a litigious duo whose careers have focused on intellectual property. In courts across the globe, they believe that they are defending the real bitcoin, a hard fork called BSV, against the far more valuable and widely adopted BTC.

Unfortunately, the trial, which is taking place in London’s High Court of Justice, the most powerful copyright court in the world, hasn’t improved investors’ sentiment toward BSV. Since the trial began at the beginning of February, BSV is mostly unchanged in value relative to BTC.

Indeed, over the past five years, BSV has lost 90% of its value in BTC terms, and today the market capitalization of BSV is 99.8% lower than BTC’s dominant $1.2 trillion.

The Rolls Royce building trial has been underway since the beginning of February. This week, most of the courtroom is adjourned on an intermission of sorts. With four weeks of court proceedings to digest, there are few events on this week’s docket. Final oral closing submissions are slated for March 12-15 and a final ruling could arrive as early as this month.

If COPA wins, Wright will be enjoined by the supreme court of 180 Berne Convention countries from asserting copyright and authorship claims over Bitcoin’s whitepaper, which describes the technology underpinning a now-$1.2 trillion crypto. In the eyes of the public, the ruling will be one of the most definitive statements from a court on whether Wright is or is not Satoshi.

So far, Wright’s overarching story is that he was framed. For years, he claims, his enemies planted evidence that would fool or be used against him. Difficult-to-explain evidence is, he claims, the act of hackers, incompetent cypherpunks and cryptographers, and his enemies who sabotaged his computers, servers, and personal possessions over the years.

Wright takes the stand for his final testimony

Friday was the nineteenth day of the trial and Wright rounded off the fourth week of proceedings with his final day of testimony. COPA’s expert witness Patrick Madden also took the stand to discuss his Madden Report regarding the facts of the case.

On Friday, Wright’s testimony started with a revisit of MYOB, a file service used by Wright and, importantly, to which his former attorneys at Ontier LLP had access. Wright fired Ontier after alleging that they were incompetent at best and, at worst, in cahoots with his enemies.

In response to questions, Wright confirmed an email chain between himself and Simon Cohen was genuine, though he said it wasn’t the full chain. That chain also discussed some matters related to MYOB.

Wright answers questions from the Madden Report

Next, Wright responded to questions about an email from Wright’s wife sent to Shoosmiths that was mentioned in the Madden Report. Wright denied COPA attorney Jonathan Hough’s assertion that the email had been sent on February 18, 2024 and contained nChain’s logo. Again, he questioned whether Patrick Madden had analyzed it properly.

Wright claimed an email from Ontier to Shoosmith after last Friday’s testimony had been ‘spoofed,’ citing headers he said were missing. It seemed nearly identical to an email sent in 2019, with only a few text edits. Wright also claimed there were visual differences between the two emails, though he called them irrelevant.

Read more: Craig Wright pulls mystery box, calls Satoshi ‘he’ during COPA trial

He also mentioned that some of his messages could have contained irregularities that sent them to Ontier’s spam folder. Abandoned there, they could have been automatically deleted after 30 days if not found.

When Judge Mellor asked who would have spoofed those emails, Wright reverted to his previous talking point that parties had framed him, specifically mentioning former associates like former nChain CEO Christen Ager-Hannsen and Arthur van Pelt. He accused van Pelt, for instance, of obtaining screenshots by accessing things to which he shouldn’t have had access.

Arthur van Pelt argued adamantly that Wright isn’t Satoshi. He also made a sarcastic comment about being framed as “Wright’s arch-nemesis” which he considered ludicrous. Although he didn’t make an official appearance as a witness in this month’s trial, participants discussed some of his actions. For his part, van Pelt says that he merely grabbed material from a publicly available Dropbox created by COPA.

Patrick Madden himself answers questions

After a break, Madden took the stand to discuss his reporting. First, he denied that a February 18 email showed signs of being “spoofed.” He sighted headers that looked normal, given “standard infrastructure.”

Attorneys presented and discussed the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), an email-related standard that provides an additional layer of security to prevent spoofing. Hough had access to SPF settings that would have been relevant to the period in question. Someone added an SBF verification record between February 24 and February 28. Wright’s legal team argued that the email had been sent without an SPF check, which could indicate that it had been spoofed.

Madden counterargued that Google and its SMTP servers wouldn’t allow a ‘spoofed’ email. Therefore, in Madden’s view, Wright had very likely sent the email.

Read more: Craig Wright hits COPA trial with 164,000 pages of evidence

When asked what effect two-factor authentication (2FA) would have on Google authentication, Madden said, “Two-factor authentication would be needed to sign in. A pre-authenticated session would not need a sign-in and not need two-factor authentication.”

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