On Wednesday morning, Australian computer scientist Craig Wright told a Norwegian courtroom that he “stomped on the hard drive” that contained the evidence required to prove his claims that he is in fact Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Wright’s seemingly unprovable claim — which he’s been making since 2016 — is the core focus of a now three year long legal battle between himself and a Bitcoin website editor Magnus Granath aka Hodlonaut who first called bullshit on Wright’s claims back in 2019.
The much-anticipated trial began on the morning of September 12, in the Oslo District Courthouse in Norway, where Wright is intending to prove that Hodlonaut damaged his reputation by declaring him a “fraud” on Twitter.
According to Wright, stomping on the hard drive was an intentional decision, as it was the only way to avoid being “forced” to prove his identity cryptographically. He said that he refused to do this because it would let his critics take the “easy way out”.
When Hodlonaut took the stand in court to defend himself, he didn’t falter from his allegations, telling the Judge:
“There was a consensus, and there still is a consensus, that Craig Wright is a fraud.”
While Hodlonaut admitted that he never “worshipped” Satoshi Nakamoto, he admitted to being “annoyed” by Wright’s obviously false claims.
“People were annoyed in crypto circles over Craig’s allegations. People felt that he was a fraud, and that he is a fraud, that’s why the word fraud was used,” Hodlonaut said.
“There was a lot of annoyance, the vast majority were thinking ‘This is stupid … everyone knows what the truth is here.’”
When Wrights’ Lawyer asked why Hodlonaut didn’t respond to Wrights request to make a public statement of apology, Hodlonaut said it was a matter of principle:
“I can’t do that, I’m not willing to do that, because it is a lie.”
“I’m not willing to be in any way part of continuing something that I believe to be a fraud,” he concluded.
“I’m feeling good about the trial”
In conversation with The Chainsaw, Hodlonaut said that he’s confident in the outcome of the case.
“I’m feeling good about the trial. The support is massive. As I have been saying all along, my opinion about Craig not being Satoshi is not controversial, it is consensus. I only focus on presenting [the] truth in court, and trust the judge to see what’s going on,” he said.
When asked if he thinks it possible to stop Wright from claiming to be Satoshi, Hodlonaut believes it to be unlikely, but said there just wasn’t an alternative.
“I don’t know if I can stop him. I would love to not spend my life on this, but I couldn’t go to court and say he is Satoshi like they demanded,” he said.
Hodlonaut vs. Craig Wright recap
Following on from Hodlonaut’s critical posts on Twitter, Wright asked that Hodlonaut delete the tweets that declared him a fraud and that Hodlonaut issue a public statement admitting that he was Nakamoto.
While Hodlonaut deleted the tweets, he refused to release such a statement claiming it was “a matter of principle”.
Following news that a trial date had been declared, Hodlonaut set up a website called ‘defendingbtc.com’ and announced it on his Twitter account, requesting financial support to help cover legal costs.
Despite raising US$1.5 million, the crypto community remains sceptical that Hodlonaut will be able to stop Wright from continuing to claim Satoshi status.
According to Bitcoin developer Greg Maxwell, Craig Wright has “very little to lose” adding the case only presents a significant loss-case to Hodlonaut himself.
Wright’s supposed inability to present sufficient evidence of his status as Bitcoin’s creator has been an ongoing fiasco in the crypto space. Most recently, a UK High Court judge awarded Wright one British pound for ‘nominal damages’ he incurred from comments made by Bitcoin podcaster Peter McCormack.
The judge finally ruled that Wright had presented ‘false evidence’ and ultimately could not confirm that Wright was Satoshi.