Craig Wright unable to provide sufficient evidence of funds in latest Satoshi court case
Craig Wright's claim to Satoshi's identity under scrutiny as U.K. High Court doubts his ability to cover lawsuit costs.
In the latest legal chapter of the ongoing Satoshi Nakamoto identity saga, self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright has been unable to satisfy a U.K. High Court judge that he has sufficient funds to cover potential legal costs in his lawsuit against cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Kraken.
Wright is suing the exchanges for trademark infringement, arguing that he owns the rights to the name “Bitcoin” and the exchanges cannot use the term for assets like BTC and BCH that allegedly deviate from his original system.
In a preliminary judgment, the Hon., Mr Justice Mellor ordered Wright’s company Wright International Investments Ltd (WII), to provide security deposits of £250,000 and £150,000 for the legal costs of Coinbase and Kraken, respectively.
However, the judge declined to make the same order against Wright personally, stating,
“I was not satisfied by the evidence from the Cs filed in support of the contention that C2 [WII] was resident in the UK or that (assuming such residence) it has any degree of permanence. The nature of whatever business C2 has conducted or does conduct was also obscure.”
He said the evidence presented an “obscure picture” about which individuals or entities owned which Bitcoin assets Wright had easy access. Ultimately, the evidence provided “no reassurance that either C2 or C1 [Wright] has or will have funds to pay costs,” the judge concluded.
While the case explores complex issues like trademark law and blockchain immutability, the doubts about Wright’s purported identity as Satoshi and control of early Bitcoin mining rewards continue to cast a shadow.
Ultimately, the burden was on Wright to provide satisfactory evidence of his ability to pay costs, which the judge found he failed to do, rather than on the plaintiffs to prove he had funds.
The judge was not convinced or satisfied by the evidence Wright provided in response to the defendant’s application for security for costs.
Beyond ordering Wright’s company to pay security deposits, Justice Mellor handed down several other pivotal rulings regarding the future direction of Wright’s Bitcoin trademark cases.
The judge decided Wright’s infringement lawsuits against Coinbase and Kraken should be stayed pending the outcome of an earlier case, Crypto Open Patent Alliance v Craig Steven Wright, that will determine whether or not Wright is truly Satoshi Nakamoto. If Wright loses on that critical identity issue, Mellor said it is highly likely that would sink Wright’s trademark cases as well.
However, if Wright wins and is affirmed as the creator of Bitcoin, then his trademark lawsuits can continue against the exchanges.
The judge’s multilayered set of rulings means that the progress and viability of Wright’s litigation crusade rests largely on him proving he is Satoshi, the enigmatic founder of the world’s original cryptocurrency.
UPDATE July 26, 12:00PM:
In a further development, the Court of Appeal has dismissed Wright’s appeal in a separate libel lawsuit against podcaster Peter McCormack.
McCormack shared to Twitter that the judges upheld the decision of Justice Chamberlain to reduce Wright’s libel damages to just £1 after finding he put forth “deliberately false” evidence during the case.