This is an opinion piece by Elsa Waldorf.
On September 12, 2022, a seven-day trial will begin in Oslo, Norway between Craig Wright and the pseudonymous Bitcoiner, hodlonaut.
Wright’s name might be familiar to readers, as well as the “space cat” hodlonaut on Twitter. This article will provide insight into why this case matters beyond the names involved. The team at Defending BTC, a community-based fundraising campaign for legal expenses, has searched the case timeline to gather a detail of the story so far and inform the reader of the details of the case.
Claims by Craig Wright about the invention of Bitcoin
Over the years, different people have come forward and claimed they were Satoshi Nakamoto, the individual or pseudonymous group that published the Bitcoin white paper in 2008 and launched the network to the world in 2009. Although many have claimed they were Nakamoto, no one has definitively proven such claims to the satisfaction of the Bitcoin community and thus, Nakamoto’s identity remains a mystery. (Without getting into too much of the weeds, there are a few simple actions that would help prove identity – but no one has actually done these moves.)
More recently, lawsuits have sprung up around claims – or the questioning of claims – that some people have made about being the true identities behind Nakamoto.
Craig Wright is one of those people. He claimed he was Nakamoto both in and out of court, having initiated a number of legal proceedings with various European bitcoiners. More recently, Peter McCormack, host of the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast and owner of Real Bedford Football Club, filed a lawsuit with Wright – the court ruling in that case was released August 1, 2022.
UK High Court Judge Martin Chamberlain ruled that McCormack’s comments caused “serious damage” to Wright’s reputation, but also that Wright “admitted a deliberately false case and presented evidence deliberately false”. Accordingly, Wright was only entitled to recover nominal damages of 1 British pound (about $1.23).
Wright Vs. Hodlonaut: Timeline
In the Craig Wright vs. Hodlonaut situation, there are actually two cases going on simultaneously. On one forehead, hodlonaut filed a declaratory statement against Craig Wright in Norway And on the other hand, Craig Wright filed a libel suit against hodlonaut in the UK The following is a timeline of cases – the text in italics corresponds to the first case while the text in bold corresponds to the latter.
Not a mega-famous handle on Twitter (having recently gone from around 4,000 to around 8,000 followers as a result of the Lightning Trust Chain), on March 16-17, 2019, hodlonaut tweeted a series of tweets about Wright. On March 29, 2019, Wright responded to hodlonaut with a legal notice. Wright filed the following complaint against Hodlonaut in these public court documents.
Wright, with Calvin Ayre and Ontier legal, offered a $5,000 BSV reward for hodlonaut’s identity. CoinGeek, founded by Ayre, published this article promoting the reward. This potential reward has drawn both Twitter attention and in-person scrutiny, according to hodlonaute. This is where the #weareallhodlonaut movement was born, a social campaign which has seen countless Twitter users change their IDs and tweet hashtags in favor of hodlonaut.
By hodlonaute, a private investigator located his workplace, posed as a police officer on the phone for personal details/contact details, then contacted hodlonaut saying he had documents for hodlonaut to sign. After refusing to sign/give more information, hodlonaut filed declaratory judgment (in Norway) that he was not liable to pay damages to Wright (in response to Twitter’s legal noticethis).
According to hodlonautWright filed a libel suit against hodlonaut in the UK
Wright requested the dismissal of the Norwegian procedure.
Hodlonaut filed a request in the UK to dismiss the proceedings on the grounds of lack of UK jurisdiction in light of the fact that the same cause of action proceedings were already pending in Norway.
A Norwegian judge ruled against Wright’s request to dismiss the Norwegian case filed by hodlonaut.
A UK hearing on hodlonaut’s request to dismiss the UK case has taken place, hodlonaut tweeted.
Hodlonaut wins the UK case dismissal claim and the UK case is dismissed.
According to hodlonautWright has appealed the decision regarding his request for dismissal in Norway.
Wright has applied for leave to appeal the dismissal decision in the UK, hodlonaut tweeted.
A UK judge has approved Wright’s appeal request, per hodlonaut’s Twitter.
Norway’s appeal court denied Wright’s request to dismiss the Norwegian case, per hodlonaut’s Twitter.
Hodlonaute tweeted that a UK court hearing into Wright’s appeal against his dismissal has taken place.
Wright appealed to the Norwegian Supreme Court to have the Norwegian case thrown out, by hodlonaute.
The Norwegian Supreme Court dismissed Wright’s appeal ensuring that the Norwegian case will continue, for hodlonaute.
The judges decided to allow Wright’s appeal and the UK proceeding to continue on the grounds that those proceedings did not involve the same cause of action (because hodlonaut initiated the Norwegian case) and hodlonaut reported that he is ordered to pay £168,000.
Hodlonaut’s request for a hearing seeking summary judgment from the UK against Wright is approved (to dismiss the case on the grounds of no serious prejudice), by hodlonaute.
A hearing in the UK on the application for summary judgment on preliminary issues (no serious prejudice) is held, by hodlonaute.
The British judgment ruled that no serious damage had been done to Wright’s reputation and the judge dismissed the claim. Hodlonaut is ordered to pay £112,000 in adverse costs, per hodlonaute.
Hodlonaut and Craig Wright will spend seven days in Norwegian court.
And that brings us to where we are today. A community-led fundraiser to garner support for the legal defense of hodlonauts has been created. For more information visit defendingbtc.com and @defendingBTC.
Beware of scammers – hodlonaut is not directly request funding in private messages.
This is a guest post by Elsa Waldorf. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.