Updated March 31st, 2024 at 10:52 IST

UK court freezes self-claimed Satoshi Nakamoto’s $7.6 mn in assets

The decision follows Wright's recent transfer of assets outside the UK after a court ruling discredited his assertion of being Nakamoto.

Reported by: Business Desk
Craig Wright | Image:Republic

Self-claimed Satoshi: A United Kingdom court has taken action to freeze £6 million ($7.6 million) in assets belonging to Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist and businessman, amidst concerns that he may attempt to evade court expenses related to his disputed claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto, the elusive creator of Bitcoin (BTC).

The decision follows Wright's recent transfer of assets outside the UK after a court ruling discredited his assertion of being Nakamoto. According to court documents, Wright moved shares of his London firm, RCJBR Holding, to a Singaporean entity on March 18. Judge James Mellor expressed serious concerns about Wright's actions, stating that they indicated an attempt to avoid the financial consequences of losing the trial.


The court endorsed a 'worldwide freezing order' the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) requested to cover COPA's legal expenses totalling $8,471,225. 

COPA, established in 2020 to promote cryptocurrency technology adoption and innovation by removing patent barriers, boasts a membership of 33 entities including Coinbase, Block, Meta, and Kraken.


Copyright claim on Bitcoin Whitepaper

Wright, an Australian computer scientist, has used his claim of being Nakamoto to assert copyright over aspects of the Bitcoin network, including demanding the removal of the Bitcoin white paper from certain websites in January 2021.


In April 2021, COPA initiated legal action against Wright, challenging his claims of being Nakamoto and thus holding copyright to Bitcoin. Following testimony from early Bitcoin developers such as Martti Malmi, the judge ruled on March 14 of this year that the evidence overwhelmingly refutes Wright's assertion of being Nakamoto.

Sued core Bitcoin developers

In a separate legal move in 2023, Wright sued 13 Bitcoin Core developers and several companies, including Blockstream and Coinbase, for copyright infringement relating to the Bitcoin white paper and blockchain database rights.

In response, the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund highlighted the pattern of such lawsuits targeting leading Bitcoin contributors, which they argue deter development due to associated time, stress, expenses, and legal risks.


Wright's filing for US copyright registration for the Bitcoin white paper and its code in 2019 has sparked debate. However, the Bitcoin white paper is now governed by an MIT open-source license, allowing unrestricted reuse and modification. A court injunction would prevent Wright from making further copyright claims related to it.


Published March 31st, 2024 at 10:52 IST