Nick Chong · 7 days ago · 2 min read · Insights via Grayscale Investments
Craig Wright ratchets up legal fight, issues threats to critics including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin
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Craig Wright continued his campaign of serving legal threats to those claiming he is a fraud. Today, legal notices were served to Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and popular podcaster Peter McCormack.
Craig Wright is an Australian computer scientist who claims, in the face of widespread skepticism, that he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Recently, Wright has been on a spree suing those who publicly denounce him as a fraud.
Hodlonaut, the founder of the Lightning Network Trust Chain, was one of the people threatened with legal action. Wright and his allies also posted a $5,000 bounty for the account’s real identity in a pointed article on CoinGeek.
The attacks on Hodlonaut were met by the widespread denouncement of Wright, with many known figureheads on Crypto Twitter calling him a fraud.
The community also rallied in solidarity behind Hodlonaut, with many swapping their profile pictures for the astronautical feline to show support. The community also independently raised $28,000 from 1,000 different backers to support Hodlonaut’s legal fund.
Craig Wright Continues Serving Legal Threats
Following Wright’s threats to Hodlonaut, the supposed Bitcoin creator served similar notices to Peter McCormack—the personality behind the What Bitcoin Did Podcast, and Vitalik Buterin—the founder of Ethereum.
The legal notice describes McCormack’s actions as a “targeted campaign on Twitter to harass and libel our client by posting highly defamatory and abusive tweets.” Buterin likely received a similar notice.
1/ So I got my letter from Craig Wright and @CalvinAyre. This is what they are sending out to people, now you can all see.
I absolutely reject their requirements.
(PS I don't recommend anyone else does this). pic.twitter.com/olpLUdwDyM
— Dr. Peter McCormack (@PeterMcCormack) April 12, 2019
The document demands McCormack delete all tweets and statements which alleged Wright fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi, that he not repeat those allegations, and that he publicly Tweet an apology.
To add to the demands, the document requests McCormack make a statement in open court apologizing to Wright and acknowledging the “falsity of the allegations.” Finally, the document is emphatic that Craig Wright is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto:
“Our client has not fraudulent claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto. He is Satoshi Nakamoto. He played an integral part in the development of Bitcoin. He produced the report ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System in October 2008, sent the first Bitcoin to Hal Finney in January 2009 and played an integral part in the development of Bitcoin.”
Vitalik Buterin Remains Quiet
It’s possible that Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin was brought into the legal fray with Craig Wright because of a comment made at the Deconomy 2018 conference in Seoul on Apr. 3, 2018. There, Buterin called Wright a fraud in person.
“It’s an absolutely nonsensical claim. It makes no sense because gamma is the percentage of the network which is colluding with the miners, which, by definition, is between 0 and 1. So given that he [Craig Wright] makes so many nonsensical mistakes, why is he, why is this fraud allowed to speak at this conference?”
Full video here:
Craig Wright absolutely should have a voice. But so do all of us laughing at his stupidity.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) November 12, 2018
Thus far, Buterin has publicly said little about receiving the legal notice.
Podcaster Peter McCormack Responds
In a light-hearted response, Peter McCormack doubled-down on his statements saying Wright is “definitely not” Satoshi and that his claims are “so vexatious I now have 15 lawyers who are willing to represent me on a pro bono basis.”
In his response, McCormack doubles-down on his denouncement of Wright. He states Craig Wright is “definitely not the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto,” that Wright’s Bitcoin Cash fork Bitcoin SV is “definitely not in my opinion Satoshi’s Vision,” and that Wright did not produce the Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System whitepaper.
— Dr. Peter McCormack (@PeterMcCormack) April 14, 2019
“For reference, if you Google ‘Craig Wright is a Fraud,’ there are currently 6,330,000 results. While we can allow for a margin of error, where there is smoke, there is usually fire, and here there is enough fire to make Mordor feel like a holiday in Iceland,” wrote McCormack.
In response to the publicized correspondences, the community has rallied around the tongue-in-cheek blogger. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of Binance—who previously threatened to delist Bitcoin SV following Wright’s threats—echoed McCormack’s sentiment:
Master piece! You have my full support, Peter.
To be clear, I don't choose sides on technology. We let market do that. I am against fraud, such as lying to be someone. As such, it is my strong opinion that:
Craig Wright is fraud. https://t.co/f9ihSD6Pr3
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 15, 2019
Wow CZ, if you believe this then why list SV? Just curious what your rationale is here.
— Rahul Sood 🦄 (@rahulsood) April 15, 2019
Those who received letters have been given until Apr. 23 to make formal responses, after which Wright will “decide whether to proceed with libel and harassment suits.” It will be curious to see whether Craig Wright goes through with his threats to take these Buterin and McCormack to court. Regardless of the outcome, it is likely the Crypto Twitter drama will continue and distract from what is most important–building and creating community.