Bitcoin advocate Hodlonaut has defeated Craig Wright in a Norwegian defamation trial after counteracting a lawsuit filed by Wright in England. As a result of the judgement, Craig Wright must pay Hodlonaut $383,000 in legal fees and ultimately, this implies in a court of law that Wright isn't Satoshi Nakamoto.
Craig Wright, famously known as Faketoshi, is a con artist the likes of which only Do Kwon can compare. It all started in 2015 when Wright went on BBC to claim he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.
The world debunked his claims after he provided only forgeries as evidence, and failed to sign a message with Satoshi's private key. Eventually, by 2018, he started a Bitcoin Cash fork known as BSV (Bitcoin Satoshi Vision) with Canadian businessman Calvin Ayre.
They claim that BSV is the real Bitcoin, which is, of course, a complete lie.
Hodlonaut is a Norwegian school teacher turned Bitcoin advocate who called out Wright on Twitter in 2019 by saying he was a "fraud," and "a very sad and pathetic scammer."
Wright did not take it well, which led to the aforementioned lawsuit in England, alleging that Hodlonaut defamed him. Hodlonaut pointed out on Twitter after the victory, that the ordeal is not over due to the English lawsuit.
So, what did the Norwegian judge at the center of the controversy, Helen Engebrigtsen, say in her judgement?
Bitcoin investigative journalist Arthur van Pelt penned an excellent article featuring the judge's full decision translated into English. Judge Engebrigtsen wrote a thorough, scathing report of Wright, ultimately acquitting Hodlonaut of any wrongdoing.
The Satoshi keys Wright never had
Wright, who claims to be a lawyer himself, was so inept at handling the procedures that he hired 20 attorneys, which ultimately didn't help him at all.
During the proceedings, Wright made shockingly false statements, such as that he stomped on the "Satoshi drive" years ago, which was his explanation for not having access to the Satoshi coins (valued at over $20 billion by some estimates). This was an obvious lie, since he clearly never had access to the money to begin with. By all accounts, Wright actually found out about Bitcoin around 2012, calling it "BitCoin."
Judge Engebrigtsen had some harsh words for Wright concerning that lie:
"Wright has explained that he has destroyed the cryptographic keys and key parts. There are no good reasons for doing this, and instead comes across as an explanation tailored to the fact that he never had the keys to Satoshi Nakamoto."
Faketoshi's defense: "Trust me, bro"
It's well known that the only defense Wright had left in court were witnesses. In other words: "trust me, bro." Wright brought a number of people from his past who claimed they heard or saw him working on Bitcoin directly, but Judge Engebrigtsen was not buying it. Her analysis of Wright's witnesses resulted in this statement:
"Wright has brought a number of witnesses to court. What these witnesses have in common is that they knew Wright at the time when Satoshi Nakamoto developed bitcoin. They have all explained themselves well about Wright’s intellectual abilities and capacity, which is otherwise not disputed. However, statements from these witnesses relating to whether or not he is Satoshi Nakamoto are not supported by contemporary evidence."
Judge Engebrigtsen's conclusion
Judge Engebrigtsen sided with Hodlonaut on all facts of the case, proving in a court of law that Craig Wright is a liar, and not Satoshi Nakamoto. Her official statement on Wright being Satoshi was:
"The court points out that the evidence brought in the case is not suitable to change its prevailing opinion that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto."
In addition, she ordered Wright to pay all of Hodlonaut's legal costs. This $383,000 figure is a just a small amount added onto the $100 million Wright already owes Ira Kleiman, the brother of Wright's deceased business partner, who sued Wright for the Satoshi coins.
Ultimately, the major victory here are the statements by Judge Engebrigtsen saying Craig Wright is not Satoshi based on the evidence.
An appeal is imminent
Calvin Ayre, the top financier for BSV and Craig Wright, indicated on Twitter that the decision was a "mistake" and it will be appealed. Wright agreed, implying in the same thread that an appeal was imminent.
In the Norwegian court system, an appeal can be brought if there were: errors in the evaluation of facts, errors in application of the law, or errors in procedure.
Craig Wright and his legal team are going to have a very tough time proving that Judge Engebrigtsen made those errors.
What happens now?
There is still a chance the original English lawsuit will go forward as expected, but this Norway decision puts that into question significantly. Even if the trial did happen, Hodlonaut would almost certainly come out victorious.
After these court proceedings, BSVers have been quickly jumping ship. The Norway court decision is a massive win for Hodlonaut and Bitcoiners around the world.