Reading Time: 3 minutes
Bitcoiner Hodlonaut starts his libel trial against Australian Craig Wright today
Hodlonaut is seeking a ruling that he did not defame Wright over ‘fraud’ allegations
The case is one of two taking place over the same matter in two different countries
Twitter user and Bitcoin Lightning Torch creator Hodlonaut will today begin his libel case against Australian man Craig Wright, more than three years after the Australian sued him over “cyberbullying”. The trial itself is in fact the first of two taking place over the same issue, with this trial taking place in Norway and another taking place in the UK next year. Both cases date back to Wright’s lawsuit spree in early 2019 when he sued a plethora of individuals over alleged libel, with the only one yet to reach court, against Peter McCormack resulting in a £1 award for damages and a castigation by the judge for lying.
Two Cases, One Issue
As detailed in the podcast Dr Bitcoin – The Man Who Wasn’t Satoshi Nakamoto, Wright sued Hodlonaut in 2019 after the Norwegian teacher accused Wright of being a fraud and not being Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright and his financial backer Calvin Ayre offered a $5,000 bounty to doxx Hodlonaut, which ultimately led to Wright uncovering his identity.
Hodlonaut sued Wright in Norway to establish NDR (negative declaratory relief), which would have meant that the case could not be tried in the UK as Wright was about to do and would, instead, only be heard in Norway. Hodlonaut initially won this but Wright won an appeal and filed in the UK as planned, which is why there are two cases being fought over the same issue.
Wright also tried to get the Norwegian case thrown out three times but lost each time, all the while telling his followers that he was looking forward to his day in court (not that much, obviously). Wright doesn’t have a great track record in his libel cases so far – he dropped suits against Adam Back and Vitalik Buterin, he won £1 in damages against Peter McCormack while being exposed (again) as a liar, and he lost against Roger Ver.
Hodlonaut Keeping ‘Truth’ Defence
The difference in this case from the McCormack case is that Hodlonaut will use the ‘truth’ defence – that is, he will try to prove to the court that Wright isn’t Satoshi, something that McCormack could not afford to do. This is no surprise, since it costs millions of dollars to fund such a defence. This truth defence allegedly includes a 350-page forensic report pulling apart the documentary evidence Wright has relied on, much of which was entered into the Kleiman trial last year and which was back then exposed as being nothing but a tissue of lies and fabrications.
Wright is said to have found new evidence that he is Satoshi, evidence that he apparently didn’t find in time for the Kleiman trial 10 months ago despite having had four years to track it down. He is also expected to reply on his previous excuse that any documents that don’t back up his story were created as part of a conspiracy theory to bring him down, but that all the material that does support his story is genuine.
Wright is also bringing witnesses to Norway who can vouch for his claim, such as his uncle who allegedly saw an early copy of the Bitcoin whitepaper, reinforcing his new stance that “proof is always people”, rather than documents. Wright himself will take the stand to face cross examination, a process that, in the Kleiman trial, saw him get so angry threw a piece of paper in the courtroom and was nearly arrested.
Wright’s Lying to be Presented in Court
While we don’t know how this judge will take the evidence put forward by Wright and the arguments against it, we do know that several judges across multiple continents have had cause to call him out on his lying and “perjurious behaviour”, a fact that will no doubt come up in the Norway trial.
The trial itself is expected to last seven days, with a verdict due by the end of October.