Craig Wright wins ‘only nominal damages’ of £1 in bitcoin libel case

Craig Wright claims that he is the mythical creator of bitcoin for years. The Australian computer scientist, Craig Wright, attempted to defend the assertion that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. However, the legal battle resulted in a pyrrhic victory for him and a tarnished image on Monday.

After Wright sued a blogger, claiming that his claim to have been the mysterious Nakamoto was fraudulent, a London high court judge ruled Wright had presented ‘deliberately falsified evidence’ in a case of libel.

Justice Chamberlain wrote that Wright would only be able to recover nominal damages because he had presented a false case and provided deliberately false evidence up until the trial.

Wright sued Peter McCormack, a blogger, over a series tweets in 2019. There was also a YouTube video discussion in which McCormack claimed Wright was a fraud and that Satoshi is not Satoshi. McCormack had previously abandoned his defense of truth in his case and the judge did not address the issue of Nakamoto’s identity.

McCormack’s claims had’seriously damaged’ Wright’s reputation in the cryptocurrency industry. McCormack’s tweets led to Wright claiming that he was invited to speak at many conferences following the submission of academic papers for blind peer reviewing. However, ten invites were withdrawn. He was rumored to be available for appearances at events in France and Vietnam as well as the US, Canada, Portugal, and other countries.

McCormack presented evidence from academics disputing Wright’s claims. These were dropped from Wright’s case in May. Chamberlain stated in his judgment that Wright later admitted that some of his evidence was incorrect but that it was accidental.

The judge stated that Wright did not have any documentary evidence that he had accepted a paper at any of the conferences mentioned in his earlier libel claim. He also said that Wright never received an invitation to speak at any of these conferences, and that any such invitation was withdrawn.

Wright explained that he had abandoned this section of his case due to the damage to his reputation from the “disinvitations” was not in England or Wales. The judge then added, “The judge cannot withstand scrutiny.”

He concluded that Dr Wright’s original case regarding serious harm and the evidence supporting it were both maintained up until the trial.

McCormack’s lawyers argued that McCormack’s tweets were ‘flippantly lighthearted’ and were in response Calvin Ayre’s posts, a Canadian businessman who ‘goading other people into accusing Dr Wright fraud’. Chamberlain also stated that Wright had been accused of being a fraud by ‘numerous others’.

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Chamberlain stated that the tweets were ‘flippant’ in tone, but they came from a’respected expert in cryptocurrency podcasting’.

“They were unambiguous in their meaning.” Many people would have read them to have realized that there was a heated debate over whether Dr Wright was Satoshi. However, some may have been influenced reading Mr McCormack’s trenchantly stated contribution to the debate.

“The fact that he was willing and able to express his views so boldly in response to threats to libel proceedings is probably to have made those who had read them more likely to believe them, than less.”

However, the judge ruled that Wright’s pretrial case regarding the serious damage to his reputation was unconscionable and that he should not be awarded ‘any more than minimal damages’.

The judge requested that both the legal teams of each side submit arguments on the awarding of costs.

Chamberlain concluded that McCormack’s comments during the video discussion, including calling Wright a “liar” and a “moron”, were defamatory. However, the video and most of the tweets did’serious damage’ to Wright’s image.

Wright stated in a statement that he intended to appeal the adverse judgments. His evidence was clearly misunderstood. I will continue to pursue legal challenges until these baseless, harmful attacks intended to diminish my reputation cease.