Wright’s appeal against 16 Bitcoin developers has been successful. The trial is expected to begin in early 2024.
Originally dismissed in March 2022, the U.K. Court of Appeal ruled that a claim by Craig Wright’s Tulip Trading against 16 Bitcoin developers should go to trial in London.
Craig Wright is an Australian computer scientist and businessman who has claimed to be the creator of the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, using the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”. Wright’s claims have been widely discredited and are not supported by credible evidence. The true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin, remains unknown.
Nonetheless, Wright alleges that the developers owe “fiduciary duties” and “duties in tort” to re-write or amend protocol code in order to give Wright access to 111,000 Bitcoin. This sum is held in two wallets whose private keys were allegedly stolen in a hack. Wright’s ownership of the wallets is contested.
Wright appeals to the court to treat developer-user relationships in the same manner as those of an attorney and client, doctor and patient, or A fiduciary-beneficiary relationship refers to a legal relationship in which one party, known as the fiduciary, has a duty to act in the best interests of another party, known as the beneficiary. This relationship is based on trust and requires the fiduciary to put the interests of the beneficiary ahead of their own.
The 16 Bitcoin Core developers Wright is suing work on improving the key software underpinning Bitcoin, such as advancing privacy, security, and scalability. Most Bitcoin developers work as volunteers without reimbursement.
Wright has become somewhat infamous for his attempts to undermine core DeFi principles, namely decentralization and censorship resistance, using various laws. Wright’s previous attempt was made last year using his other company, nChain, which declares itself “the DNA of Blockchain”. nChain developed a blacklist manager tool for the Bitcoin SV network (BSV), which allowed users to freeze and confiscate BSV coins as long as they provide legal documents proving rightful ownership.
A legal representative for 14 of the developers said the Court of Appeal felt inclined to send the case to trial due to the developers all being outside the jurisdiction of the court.
Wright’s case joins the cesspool of companies and individuals whose attempts to benefit financially from cryptocurrency are incompatible with the ethos of DeFi.