2024v21, Tuesday: The biggest lie.

2024v21, Tuesday: The biggest lie.


For four months, cryptolaw nerds have been awaiting this one: Mr Justice Mellor’s judgment in COPA v Wright.

Everyone knew it wouldn’t be kind to Craig Wright, the Australian who has asserted for years (often litigiously) that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous progenitor of Bitcoin. After all, at the conclusion of the 21-day trial finished Mellor J had announced - without any delay - his core finding, which he said he found was overwhelmingly proven: that Wright was not Satoshi after all.

But the forthrightness and strength of his findings is breathtaking nonetheless. As these two opening paragraphs demonstrate.

I have to admit: I’m days away from having read the whole thing. Between the main judgment, and an appendix walking through the allegations made by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance that Wright had forged documents, there are almost 400 pages here.  Far more than anyone but the aforementioned nerds (re which: hi!) will ever get through. I will read it: I want to follow through forensically the chain of reasoning that leads to the conclusions. Not least because it’s likely to be a masterclass in how advocates, and judges, deal with situations where someone HAS to be lying.

(This isn’t as common in trials as one might think. Often people believe fervently in the “facts” they proclaim, even as they’re undermined one by one. That’s just how humans tick, as jurisprudence in this country now recognises. But sometimes there’s that situation, like this one, where the only possible explanation is that someone is simply, and deliberately, turning the truth inside out.)

So I post this really to mark the occasion. What Mellor J has found is one of the biggest and most public instances of lying - and forgery to support the lies - that I can recall. I know there are greater lies out there. Certainly far more (and more broadly) harmful and pernicious ones. But what I anticipate will be the careful, step-by-step, juridical peeling back of a porkie that’s been publicly maintained, on a global scale, for a decade or more is a rare beast. A day to remember.