Bitcoin’s origin story took center stage on day two as Dr. Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, took the witness stand under oath. Wright faces allegations of presenting forged documents to support his identity claim by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA).
In the initial morning session, Justice Mellor explicitly stated the difficulty managing Wright’s “rambling” evidence. Wright was sworn in around 11 am GMT.
Dr. Craig Wright examinations – mid-morning session.
Wright was under the intense scrutiny of COPA lawyers, making remarkable statements from the stand. Accusations were made of the alleged manipulation of digital evidence throughout the day as the prosecution repeatedly reviewed documents and videos claimed to be forged by Wright. The first was using the WayBackMachine to fabricate historical website access, a charge Wright vehemently denied.
The prosecution argued that videos containing Satoshi-owned web pages were shot separately because Wright could not access the websites but used cached versions of static pages. In a peculiar admission, Wright said the reason for creating multiple separate videos was due to the technical limitations of filming and navigating simultaneously. Therefore, despite claiming to have created Bitcoin, Wright admitted to being unable to operate a computer mouse and a mobile phone simultaneously, adding a layer of irony to the proceedings.
Wright engaged in a verbal skirmish with the prosecution over the specifics of the credit card used to acquire the bitcoin.org domain name. Amidst these exchanges, Wright frequently invoked legal privilege, doing so several times within the first hour of testimony, a tactic that stressed the contentious atmosphere of the trial. However, Wright made a point of stating that he was being as helpful as possible.
Adding to the drama, Wright posited that further allegations of submitting fake documents stemmed from internal sabotage within his company and were supposed to be protected under client privilege. Wright stated that the fabricated documents were not intended to be submitted under evidence.
A detailed examination of a 2008 document, described by Wright as proof of his early involvement in Bitcoin’s conceptualization, revolved around discrepancies in font sizes and alignments. Wright defended the document’s integrity, attributing anomalies to print quality rather than manipulation. He believes printing a PDF file will cause fonts to become altered, while editing a PDF would not do such a thing.
Wright contended under oath that printing a PDF could alter its font, which raised eyebrows considering the context of the allegations against him.
“If I went in with, say, Soda or Adobe, And I edited a document. There is no way that you will naturally change the font. The font only will change if you do something like printing it.”
Further, in response to a conversation around allegedly forged documents, he boldly claimed that if he were to forge a document, it would be executed flawlessly.
“If I’d forge that document, then it would be perfect. It’s very simple.”
After the lunch break, Wright became increasingly bolstered by the line of questions stating, “You can make up any answer you want.” However, when seemingly flustered, he declared,
“I’m better at code than words, so if you think that, that’s the problem.”
However, Wright appeared more confident and brash after seemingly leaving the prosecution lawyer slightly flustered regarding the conversation around including a Bitcoin whitepaper extract in a document submitted to Australian authorities. Pedantic wordplay and continued denial led to the prosecution referring to his notes before asking Wright if he was making an affirmative statement regarding the existence of a Bitcoin abstract he has possession of, not in evidence, from before 2009. At this point, Wright appeared to reframe the conversation slightly, falling short of confirming the existence of such a paper.
Wright seemed less assertive as the conversation moved toward doctored time stamps within documents. In response to the prosecution citing expert testimony, Wright sees a difference between “manipulated time stamps” and “inauthentic time stamps. “Wright argues that it was his understanding that the documents had been “changed at some time” instead of being manipulated to show different time stamps.
COPA lawyers brought up the expert witness testimony of Mr. Madden, who found discrepancies in the raw data of a file Wright claimed to be evidence that he was Satoshi. The document, which was supposed to be from before 2008, included the line, “Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009,” among others. Wright asserted that this was due to a “merge” bug and that he had “no idea” how they happened.
“What you have here is a shared environment where a completely different file. The file you have there, which is unrelated to the original research, was merged.”
Wright continued to state that if he were to forge documents, they would be “perfect.”
Much of the rest of the afternoon was taken up with COPA lawyers going through 20 separate documents alleged to have been forged by Wright. Each document presented to Wright was supported by testimony from expert witnesses. Wright denied the veracity of any such evidence, giving his personal opinion on why the expert witnesses were unable to provide adequate or accurate analysis.
The cross-examination of Wright will continue tomorrow, Feb. 7. Further comments on the day’s proceedings can be found on X here.
|Feb. 6 – 9
|Cross-examination of Craig Wright
|Feb. 12 – 13
|Craig Wright’s’ cross-examination continued
|Feb. 14 – 16
|Cross-examination of remaining fact witnesses for Craig Wright
|Feb. 19 – 23
|Cross-examination of fact witnesses for COPA / developers
|Feb. 23 – Mar. 1
|Cross-examination of digital forensic experts
|Cross-examination of both cryptocurrency experts
|Mar. 12 – 15
|Oral closing submissions