Bitcoin

Sticking it to Craig Wright, crypto entrepreneur wants everyone to be Satoshi Nakamoto

The race to claim the title of copyright-certified Bitcoin creator has begun

Cue the dueling banjos, it’s a battle of the Satoshi Nakamotos! On May 24, Wei Liu, a crypto entrepreneur and investor, filed a copyright registration stating that he is really the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper, “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer Electronic Cash System.”

Craig Wright, the founder of nChain and moving force behind Bitcoin Satoshi Version (BSV), raised a howl of protest and repudiation after announcing he had been granted the same copyright (as well as one for the Bitcoin Core code) on May 21. Wright said that the copyright registration amounted to “government agency recognition” him as Nakamoto. That prompted the U.S. Copyright Office to put out a press release that night noting that it “does not investigate the truth of any statement made” on a copyright registration submission.

Two days later, Wright was quoted as saying, “I am Satoshi Nakamoto. I created Bitcoin. If you try and falsely claim that you did, you are committing a criminal offence and we will ensure you are charged with a crime.” He added that, “any other would-be claimants…should be forewarned.”

Wright added that lying to the Copyright Office was perjury, a crime punishable by 20 years in prison. In fact, lying to the Copyright Office is punishable by a $2,500 fine, and federal perjury maxes out at five years.

The next day, Liu reacted to Wright’s double dog dare to the Bitcoin community by filing his own copyright registration. Humorously enough, it is the only one that comes up now when you plug “Satoshi Nakamoto” into the Copyright Office’s public catalog and search by name.

To get to Wright’s copyright registration, you have to search by its registration number, TXu002136996.

Liu, who is CEO of crypto market research firm Coinsummer, and former CEO of crypto investment fund MarvelousPeach Capital isn’t really claiming to be Nakamoto, however. He told Coindesk he filed the copyright to make clear that “anyone can register a copyright. Everyone can be Satoshi Nakamoto.” And he declined to answer when asked outright if he is the Bitcoin creator.

So you, too, can be Satoshi Nakamoto, with a copyright certificate to show off at all the crypto meetups and conferences. All it takes is an online form, a $55 registration fee, and the ability to pay a $2,500 fine, if and when.

Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus senior editor, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about meeting and incentive travel, as well as the consumer and employee loyalty business. He also covered the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, small businesses, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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