Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, filed copyright registrations for the Bitcoin whitepaper and the original Bitcoin code with the US Copyright Office. The office ‘recognized’ Wright as the author, making it the first government agency to do so.
Copyright registrations for Bitcoin’s original whitepaper
One of the most controversial figures in the crypto industry, Craig Wright, saw his claims to the crypto throne culminate today after being granted copyright claims to the original Bitcoin whitepaper and software code.
According to the official website of the US Copyright Office, Wright’s claim has been registered on May 20. The Copyright Office granted Wright two copyrights—one for the whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” and the other for “Bitcoin,” the cryptocurrency’s original code.
“Wright is now legally establishing that he is Bitcoin’s creator after being dismayed to see his original Bitcoin design bastardized by protocol developer groups—first by Bitcoin Core (BTC) in 2017 and then again by Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developers in 2018,” said Wright-sympathetic news site CoinGeek.
The registration recognized Wright as being the author of the whitepaper under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, as well as being responsible for writing “most of version 0.1 of the Bitcoin client software.”
Jimmy Nguyen, the president of nChain, where Wright is chief scientist, said that the company was “thrilled” that Wright was recognized as the author of Bitcoin’s whitepaper.
“Better than anyone else, Craig understands that Bitcoin was created be a massively scaled blockchain to power the world’s electronic cash for billions of people to use, and be the global data ledger for the biggest enterprise applications,” said Nguyen.
Wright’s copyrights only prove that BSV is easily manipulated
Neeraj Agrawal from Coin Center was the first to break the story, sharing Wright’s copyright claims on Twitter. And while the news was met with reactions ranging from amusement to rage, it was quickly determined that the claims themselves actually mean little.
— Neeraj K. Agrawal (@NeerajKA) May 21, 2019
Jerry Brito, the executive director at CoinCentral, said that anyone can register a copyright with the US Copyright office, as it only involves filing a form. Since the Copyright Office doesn’t investigate the validity of the claims filed they have almost zero legal weight.
Registering a copyright is just filing a form. The Copyright Office does not investigate the validity of the claim; they just register it. Unfortunately there is no official way to challenge a registration. If there are competing claims, the Office will just register all of them. https://t.co/YA70ALpG1Y
— Jerry Brito (@jerrybrito) May 21, 2019
Brito also pointed out that someone else could also file a copyright claim to the Bitcoin whitepaper, and the Office will just register all of them. While this will definitely invite a lawsuit from Wright, the validity of both claims would be decided by a court.
However, even if Wright’s claim was found to be false it would have little consequence As Chris Harvey, a venture capital lawyer with the Harvey Esquire APC pointed out, no company has ever been prosecuted for false copyright registration, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500.
False copyright registration is "copyfraud". Unfortunately, no private right of action exists under relevant US copyright law, 18 U.S.C. § 506(e). Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $2,500. No company has ever been prosecuted for violating this. https://t.co/SgwKgbQm2L
— Chris Harvey (@ChrisHarveyEsq) May 21, 2019
The price of Bitcoin SV jumped by over 120 percent in less than an hour to almost $140 but has stabilized at around $100 at press time. Wright’s stunt might have given BSV a temporary price spike, but many analysts believe it will prove detrimental to its value in the long run.