Bitcoin

Dozens of Sites Host Bitcoin White Paper Following Craig Wright Legal Threats

The Bitcoin white paper can now be read and downloaded at various new destinations, as dozens of companies and individuals have made the the document available on their websites in the last 24 hours.

In what resembles an act of defiance, bitcoiners responded to a statement issued by Bitcoin.org on Wednesday that revealed that both Bitcoin.org and BitcoinCore.org had received allegations of copyright infringement by hosting the white paper on their sites.

The letter comes from none other than Craig Wright, whose lawyers are quoted stating in the letter that Wright "owns the copyright to the paper, the Bitcoin name, and ownership of bitcoin.org." In addition, the owners of both sites were asked to take down the white paper in order to avoid further legal action.

Wright has initiated multiple lawsuits over the years to 'prove' he is the pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. As part of his pursuit, Wright has made numerous claims, such as statements that he owned—but couldn't access—the private keys to Bitcoin addresses associated with Satoshi Nakamoto, and that he wrote the Bitcoin white paper—but also that Satoshi plagiarized him when writing the white paper.

Following Wright's threats, the white paper was removed from BitcoinCore.org as its operators voiced concerns that the document's licensing status is "unclear." The white paper can still be accessed on Bitcoin.org.

User Seccour pointed out in a response on Github that the white paper is indeed licensed under the MIT license, a permissive free software license that would invalidate Wright's copyright claim.

The initial reactions to BitcoinCore.org's removal of the file were mixed; while some criticized the site for complying with a baseless demand, others came to the site owners' support. In a Reddit thread, Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell noted that the white paper is "not currently needed" on BitcoinCore.org, seeing as it is already available in numerous other places.

Maxwell further stressed that Wright's attempt to make a claim on the white paper will have little impact overall:

Wright might be able to abuse the legal system to take a copy down, or even to take down bitcoincore.org entirely (maybe even bitcoin.org entirely). And what effect would that have on Bitcoin? NONE. No effect at all. What effect would it have on the availability of the whitepaper? If anything it would make it more available. But even if he managed to get the whitepaper taken off every site-- a total impossibility-- what would that do to Bitcoin? Still nothing.

The Force of Decentralization

And indeed, a day later, the white paper may no longer be available on BitcoinCore.org, but it can now be accessed on countless other sites, as Bitcoin companies and Bitcoin users banded together to stand up against the threats.

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor announced that the white paper would from now on be hosted on the firm's website as well as Saylor's domain Hope.com.

Square Crypto has uploaded the white paper to its site.

Anthony Scaramucci shared that his firm SkyBridge Capital had posted the paper on its site. 

Fidelity Digital Assets announced that it, too, had uploaded the white paper. 

Bitcoin infrastructure company Blockstream shared a link to the white paper hosted on its website.

Former Monero lead maintainer Riccardo Spagni now hosts the white paper on craigwrightisnotsatoshi.com.

And countless others have joined in to support the accused domain operators and set a sign against Wright's claims.

Whether Wright will follow through on his threats is to be seen. 

Either way, the cascading response of white paper uploads might just be making the best of a bad situation: not only does it make any additional attempts by Wright to claim the white paper more time-consuming and costly, but it also simply makes Satoshi Nakamoto's work more accessible to anyone who may want to read it.

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Thomas is a journalist at the BTC Times. He enjoys writing about Bitcoin, learning about Bitcoin, and HODLing bitcoin.