Craig Wright’s Bitcoin Whitepaper Saga Explained
Bitcoin SV (BSV) had a significant jump on Tuesday due to alleged news that Craig Wright was ‘Satoshi Nakamoto,’ the creator of Bitcoin. The U.S. Copyright Office responded instantly that it never officially ‘recognized’ anyone as Bitcoin’s inventor.
Who is Craig Wright?
Craig Steven Wright is an Australian computer scientist and businessman. He has publicly claimed to be the main part of the team that created bitcoin, and the identity behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. These claims are widely regarded as a hoax.
The Claim Application
Wright submitted a claim application requesting recognition as the original author and creator of Bitcoin and its whitepaper. He also made another claim requesting being granted copyright registration for developing most of the early versions of the source code released for implementing the Bitcoin blockchain. However, Wright never provided any hard evidence to back up his claims of creating Bitcoin. As per the Copyright Office statement, all Wright did was “confirm” he was the author behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto without any actual proof.
The U.S. Copyright Office Responds Back
The Copyright Office responded in a press release claiming that technically anyone could file a claim application requesting for copyright registration and that it does not necessarily determine the truth of the claims therein.
This was the controversial part of the initial press release that initiated the frenzy:
“Importantly, the registrations issued by the U.S. Copyright Office recognize Wright as the author – under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto – of both the white paper and code. This is the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.”
The Copyright Office further explained what they implied by the fact that Wright’s copyright registration is not proof of ownership and that multiple claims can be technically made:
“As a general rule, when the Copyright Office receives an application for registration, the claimant certifies as to the truth of the statements made in the submitted materials. The Copyright Office does not investigate the truth of any statement made. It is possible for multiple, adverse claims to be registered at the Copyright Office… Disputes over the claims in a registration may be heard before federal courts, including disputes over authorship of a work.”
Possible Penalties to be faced
According to the Copyright Office, false copyright claims may be legally subject to penalties:
“Someone who intentionally includes false information in an application may be subject to penalties. [We] asked the applicant to confirm that Craig Steven Wright was the author and claimant of the works being registered. Mr. Wright made that confirmation.”
Apart from this, it is a well-established fact that the most foolproof way of Craig Wright establishing his identity as the real Satoshi Nakamoto would be to sign a message with the private key associated with the Genesis block, the first ever Bitcoin block.
The initial response to this saga was that of panic by prominent Cryptocurrency influencers who took to Twitter to express their sentiments. CNBC crypto analyst Ran NeuNer made a point about how Craig Wright could have the power to stop several people from using Bitcoin without his formal agreement. This is what he said:
“I think the Crypto world is grossly underestimating the implications of the latest move by Craig Wright. If he is awarded the copyright for the code and white paper he could stop people from using it without agreement. This is a scary thought.”
However, people quickly reminded him that Bitcoin was released under an MIT License which happened to be one of the most permissive licenses, thus requiring those who modify and redistribute the code do so under a different title.
Officials at the Copyright Office also confirmed that registering the Bitcoin source code with the organization does not protect the intellectual property (IP) of Bitcoin as an invention. Also, the Copyright Office may cancel, or void, a registration application if it believes, or has sufficient proof, that a particular claim is inaccurate or false. Hence, only time will tell if Craig Wright is indeed a fraud, or if he actually is what he claims to be.