• B Vrettos and M Bacina

Craig Wright's cryptocurrency copyright crusade



Dr Craig Wright, the Australian who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto and the inventor of Bitcoin, has had legal letters sent to both Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org claiming that they are infringing Dr Wright's alleged copyright in the original bitcoin whitepaper.


A statement from Bitcoin.org reads:

In this letter, they claim [Dr Wright] owns the copyright to the paper, the Bitcoin name, and ownership of bitcoin.org. They also claim he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, and the original owner of bitcoin.org. Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org were both asked to take down the whitepaper.

The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the bitcoin whitepaper, has been subject of considerable speculation since the whitepaper's release in 2008. Dr Wright's ownership claim has been rejected by most in the community given his inability to prove his claim.


CoinGeek reports that Dr Wright has warned that he was "willing to use the courts to prove he is Bitcoin's original creator" and suggested that this copyright infringement notice may be the first step in his years long efforts to prove his claim.


Bitcoin.org adamantly defends the assertions saying that:

We believe there is no doubt we have the legal right to host the Bitcoin whitepaper.

While Bitcoin.org remains confident that the original publication was made under an MIT open-source software license which should leave have minimal restrictions on reproduction of the whitepaper and code.


CoinGeek draws a distinction in the licence terms however, noting:

The point of contention here is that it’s not OK to modify the software and pass it off as the original—which, having heavily modified the protocol software to make it materially different to the original over the years, the Core development team has done.

Dr Wright's pet project is Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, known as BSV, which he says is the true bitcoin. Dr Wright has previously asserted erroneously that the US Government had recognised him as the "creator of Bitcoin" after he lodged a copyright notice in 2019 (which is not assessed and which costs $55 to lodge) leading to the US Copyright office issuing a press release clarifying that they do not look beyond the self certification of a copyright notice.


Dr Wright's ongoing lawsuit over more than USD$10BN that his late colleague David Kleinman's family claim Dr Wright owes the estate also continues to move towards a trial date.


In Australia, leading exchange Independent Reserve delisted BSV in direct response to this situation emerging, with CEO Adrian Przelowsky saying:

These are the actions of a bully and they must stop.