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Defending the Freedom of Bitcoin Open Source Development

In three weeks, pseudonymous Bitcoiner hodlonaut will take the stand in Oslo, Norway to defend his allegations that Australian computer scientist Craig Wright is not Satoshi. You can read a full timeline of the situation here. Although you might not expect it, this case directly impacts Bitcoin open source development. Hiro strongly believes in defending open-source Bitcoin contributors’ work related to Bitcoin, which is why we’re donating to the OpenSats Legal Defense Fund.

September 1, 2022
Defending Bitcoin
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Now, we’re not saying Craig Wright is not Satoshi. For years, different people have claimed they were Satoshi without being able to definitively prove their case to the broader Bitcoin community, but who are we to judge whether Craig Wright is not Satoshi? Regardless, lawsuits surrounding this debate directly impact Bitcoin community members, oftentimes with Bitcoin developers caught in the crossfire.

Greg Maxwell (former Bitcoin Core dev) summarized the current status and issues with Bitcoin development caused by the fight over whether Craig Wright is not Satoshi. The following are excerpts from his comment with links to his observations added by me: 

“His vexatious litigation has made the Bitcoin whitepaper unavailable to people in the UK from the original download site, in fact when you search for it in the UK you get a recent forgery by Mr. Wright with his name on it-- I once had a rather confused conversation with a journalist that couldn't understand why anyone would think Wright didn't created Bitcoin, finally they said his name was on the whitepaper and I understood what had happened. It's also caused Bitcoin Core to be unavailable from bitcoin.org to anyone in the UK.

“To substantiate his pineapple hack claims he's filed a lawsuit against a dozen (active and former, but increasingly former) Bitcoin developers demanding they aid him in producing and distributing version of Bitcoin with a cryptographic backdoor which will allow him to seize coins he's claimed to have lost (but obviously never owned) or otherwise pay him billions of dollars in damages. To anyone with expertise in Bitcoin it's obvious why the demand can't work: Users simply wouldn't choose to run such a version and would run alternatives or stay on old versions…”

Again, we’re not saying Craig Wright is not Satoshi, but we are concerned that lawsuits such as these will have a chilling effect on Bitcoin open source development, and we will not stand by and let anyone — even the real Satoshi – harm such a critical ecosystem. 

If you also don’t care whether Craig Wright is not Satoshi, but want to support open-source Bitcoin contributors’ work related to Bitcoin, you can also donate to the OpenSats Legal Defense Fund now. 

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