UK Court Freezes Craig Wright’s Assets Amid Legal Battle

In a significant development within the ongoing legal saga surrounding Craig Wright’s claim to be Bitcoin’s creator, a UK court has authorized the freezing of over $7 million (£6 million) worth of his assets. The move comes after Wright’s transfer of shares outside the UK following a court ruling that debunked his assertion to be Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous founder.

The decision, endorsed by Judge James Mellor, stems from a “worldwide freezing order” requested by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to address its significant court expenses totaling over $8 million (£6.7 million). Concerns arose when Wright shifted shares of his London-based firm to a Singaporean entity, prompting fears of evading court expenses.

COPA, formed in 2020 to promote cryptocurrency technology adoption and eliminate patents as barriers to innovation, has been locked in a legal battle with Wright since April 2021. Wright, an Australian computer scientist, has falsely claimed to be Nakamoto, using it to file copyright claims related to the Bitcoin network.

The freezing of assets follows Mellor’s ruling earlier this month that Wright is not Nakamoto, reinforcing COPA’s position. Mellor emphasized the need to prevent asset dissipation, especially after Wright’s ownership transfer.

The legal dispute underscores broader concerns within the cryptocurrency community regarding patent assertions and false claims. Wright’s actions have faced criticism, with the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund describing his claim as a “brazen lie” supported by forgery.

Wright’s attempt to enforce copyrights on the Bitcoin white paper, coupled with his false identity claim, has led to legal entanglements with COPA and other parties. Despite Wright’s efforts, the Bitcoin white paper now operates under an MIT open-source license, allowing broader access and use.