London's High Court has allowed lawyers representing Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who claims to be the creator of Bitcoin, to pursue a copyright infringement case against the operator and publisher of the bitcoin.org website known only as "Cobra." The move is a victory for Wright as he stakes his claim for Bitcoin's white paper, published by mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 – it laid the groundwork and outlined the technology behind the most popular and valuable cryptocurrency in the world.
Cobra's identity and whereabouts are not known, according to Reuters, which has seen the court filings.
Wright, who has residency in Britain, is demanding that bitcoin.org removes the white paper while accusing Cobra of wrongfully controlling the website. He claims he has evidence to support his allegations.
“We’ve been threatened to take down the bitcoin white paper by someone who obviously isn’t the inventor of bitcoin (if he was, that would make him the 25th richest person in the world, which he obviously isn’t),” Cobra told The Guardian in an e-mail.
“Seems like he’s trying to abuse the UK courts to make them try to censor the white paper and harass small websites like us providing education content with his behaviour,” they said.
Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 – this name, however, is a pseudonym, used by a person or a group of persons, who developed the cryptocurrency.
Nakamoto released the technical manifesto under an MIT permissive free software license.
“I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party,” he said upon releasing the white paper.
After establishing the cryptocurrency, Nakamoto reportedly continued to work with other developers on Bitcoin until mid-2010, when he gave control of the source code repository and network alert key to software developer Gavin Andresen, and transferred several domains related to Bitcoin to prominent members of the community.
Nobody has heard from Nakamoto since April 23 2011, when he signed off an email saying, “I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.”
Over the years, several people have been suspected of being the mysterious Bitcoin developer with – Wright being one of them.
Two separate investigations by Wired and Gizmodo suggested that the businessman could be the mysterious figure after Wired received leaked material from a source close to Wright, while Gizmodo received a similar collection of documents from a hacker.
Several days later, however, Wired pointed at several serious inconsistencies, raising concerns that Wright could be “a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did” invent Bitcoin.
Since then Wright has made a career from his claim to be Nakamoto. The businessman has eagerly sued prominent Bitcoiners for challenging his claim, leaving the community mulling over whether to remove the white paper from websites or to face one of the expensive lawsuits.
According to Wright, no other entity is authorised to host the Bitcoin white paper since he is, as he claims, Nakamoto. This, however, is at odds with the open-source, decentralised nature of the cryptocurrency.
Square, the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA), an alliance formed by Square Crypto to pool patents and preserve the industry’s open-source spirit, has recently filed a lawsuit against Wright over his copyright claims.
Wright is still yet to provide conclusive evidence to his claim.