Craig Wright, Australian computer scientist and claimant to the anonymous identity ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, has recently been granted copyright claims in the U.S. to the famous original Bitcoin whitepaper and source code, published in 2008.
In what is the most recent development in Wright’s ongoing claim of being the original creator of Bitcoin, the news broke on Tuesday 21st April, with a spokesperson for Wright telling the Financial Times “This is the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.”
However the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright.gov, has stated in an official press release, issued on the 22nd of May after much controversy from the blockchain community, that although Wright applied for and was granted a copyright of the original whitepaper, this in no way confirms he is the original creator of the world’s most popular digital currency.
Instead, the press release states, “A registration represents a claim to an interest in a work protected by copyright law, not a determination of the truth of the claims therein.”, implying that although Wright has strategically registered that he is an interest party, he is in no way officially recognized as Bitcoin’s creator by U.S. Gov, despite the claims of his spokesperson.
In a follow up statement on the 23rd of May, the Copyright Office stated that Wright requested expedited consideration under Sections 207 and 623 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices for his copyright claim, at a fee of $800. They confirmed this was granted and would have pushed his claim through in less than five days.
The press release also revealed that when work is published under a pseudonym, as the Bitcoin original whitepaper is, the Copyright Office does not have grounds to investigate whether there is a real and provable connection between the claimant, in this case Wright, and the real author. However, it’s also stated that “Someone who intentionally includes false information in an application may be subject to criminal penalties.”, so if in fact Wright’s claim is erroneous and he has provided false documents to back his application, he may be in contravention of U.S. laws.
Nevertheless, as the news broke, the price of Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision), Wright’s latest cryptocurrency which claims to be closest to the original Bitcoin protocol, rose over 100%; with proponents of the virtual currency believing this would once and for all solidify Wright’s claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto.
This has led some to believe that the copyright announcement was a carefully planned move by Wright, with Washington D.C. lawyer and prominent blockchain commentator Jake Chervinsky saying that “Craig Wright’s copyright registration is meaningless theater”.
What Wright intends to do with his newly registered copyright remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not the end of Wright’s battle to be recognized as the original creator of Bitcoin.