"This is a lie," was the first thing Stuart Hoegner, General Counsel at Tether, had to say about an article published on Saturday by Bitcoin SV-affiliated publication Coingeek.
The cause for Hoegner's outrage is the latest in dozens of courtroom reports from Bitcoin SV (BSV) creator Craig Wright's libel case against What Bitcoin Did host Peter McCormack, after the latter, alongside numerous other Twitter users, called Wright a fraud in 2019.
Saturday's article claimed that Tether, which has been backing Peter McCormack financially during the legal proceedings, has now withdrawn its support, and mused the move came after Tether and McCormack saw "overwhelming" evidence that would be "fatal to their defence." The article adds that "it is very clear from these actions that Tether has confirmed Craig is Satoshi."
"Neither assertion is true," Hoegner told the BTC Times, "but such claims from the likes of Coingeek are neither surprising nor new."
Coingeek is a publication owned by BSV advocate and Craig Wright supporter Calvin Ayre and has often come under fire for spreading false claims and misleading readers to the benefit of Wright and BSV.
The publication is known for vocally supporting Wright in his libel cases against a number of popular figures in the Bitcoin space. In 2019, Wright sued Peter McCormack as well as pseudonymous personality Hodlonaut, Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin, and Roger Ver after they called him a fraud for claiming to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
While he has since dropped the lawsuit against Back, sued Ver a second time after the first lawsuit was dismissed by the High Court of England, and failed to follow up on the suit filed against Buterin, the initial proceedings with McCormack and Hodlonaut are dragging on.
Wright has made numerous claims over the years, 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.
Earlier this year, an anonymous Bitcoin user signed 145 Bitcoin addresses Wright had claimed to be in possession of with a message calling him "a liar and a fraud."
In 2019, McCormack estimated the fees for his defence could potentially run as high as £750,000 depending on the course the proceedings would take. The actual legal fees to date are not known.
In November last year, Hoegner revealed that Tether would "stand behind" McCormack in his defence.
Speaking to the BTC Times this week, he shared that "some others have supported Peter during these proceedings, and Tether is honoured to be counted among them."
Since then, Tether has contributed more than $300,000 to McCormack's defence - but the stablecoin issuer hopes other industry representatives will chip in as well.
Defending against an abusive and meritless lawsuit is an expensive proposition, and we believe that more members of the community must step up. The time for empty virtue signaling is past. People that are sitting idly by and doing nothing about baseless and incendiary attacks like these should ask themselves how confident they are that they won't be targeted next.
According to two sources that wished to remain anonymous, McCormack is now indeed looking to settle the lawsuit - a decision apparently based on the growing financial burden associated with the ongoing proceedings, with no change to McCormack's conviction that Craig Wright's claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto are false. The current funding status of McCormack's legal expenses is unclear.
According to one source, this result likely presents the outcome Wright's side may have hoped for, as it allows BSV advocates room to claim the settlement attempt "proves" that Wright is the pseudonymous Bitcoin inventor: "Their strategy to run up costs stupidly rather than show any real proof seems to have worked."
An expert report made public earlier this year detailed that emails used by Wright as evidence in court had been forged and backdated to make it appear as if he was Satoshi Nakamoto.
Whether a settlement will happen is not clear at this point. Hoegner, who remains clearly upset with the claims made by Coingeek, reiterated that Tether believes Peter McCormack "has done nothing wrong here."
There has been nothing at any part of these proceedings that has changed our minds about Peter being on the right side of this case.