The UK’s High Court has awarded Dr. Craig Wright, the man claiming to have invented Bitcoin, £1 ($1.23) in damages after judging that he deliberately presented false evidence in a Bitcoin libel case against Bitcoin enthusiast and podcaster, Peter McCormack.
Judge Martin Chamberlain wrote:
Because he [Wright] advanced a deliberately false case and put forward deliberately false evidence until days before trial, he will recover only nominal damages.
Wright had sued McCormack over several tweets, and a video discussion on Youtube that he claimed had tarnished his reputation and resulted in him being disinvited from several academic events and conferences. The tweets and video in question asserted that Wright was a ‘fraud’ and is not Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious figure credited with inventing Bitcoin.
In response to the libel claim, McCormack submitted evidence from the organizers of the events concerned. This caused Wright to drop some of his claims at the trial in May, saying that the errors were inadvertent, an explanation the judge rejected.
Judge Chamberlain noted that there was no ‘documentary evidence’ that Wright had received invitations to speak at all except for one of the conferences identified in the original claim. There was also no evidence that any invitation was withdrawn.
Judge Chamberlain did find that the video and tweets caused “serious harm” to Wright’s reputation and some of the comments in the video discussion were defamatory. But recognizing the false claims, the judge added that it made it “unconscionable” for Wright to receive “any more than nominal damages,” amounting to £1.
In a press release, Wright’s lawyers welcomed the ruling in so far as it found that McCormack’s words damaged their client’s reputation. However, Wright announced plans to appeal the verdict on the basis that it did not take into account his Asperger’s Syndrome.
“Too little regard is paid to the impact my Aspergers has in my communications. I intend to appeal the adverse findings of the judgment in which my evidence was clearly misunderstood,” he said.
Wright had said in the trial that his autism made it hard for him to lie and explain matters. However, Justice Chamberlain ascertained that he had considered the condition during his ruling, but he found that Wright’s first statement was “not merely inadequately or infelicitously explained” but false.
Despite this, Wright maintains he is the inventor of Bitcoin and says he will not stop his legal battles “until these baseless and harmful attacks designed to belittle my reputation stop.”
Responding to the ruling on Twitter, McCormack thanked Justice Chamberlain for the result, saying that he and his legal teams are “very pleased with his findings.”
McCormack was not the only one who seemed to enjoy the ruling. Many people in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space have been following the case closely. After the judgment, some took to Twitter to express their satisfaction and poke fun at the situation.
One tweet from @cobie read, “I have decided to start raising money to support Peter in paying his hefty damages in the CSW trial. Every little helps. We are trying to raise £1. Please help if you are able to support. Thank you.”
Other memes were swiftly shared as well after the ruling: