An Australian cryptographer, who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, is suing two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges over claims they undermined his intellectual property rights by using the name Bitcoin.
Craig Wright, who claims to be the real person behind the Bitcoin creator’s alias Satoshi Nakamoto, is suing Coinbase and Payward – the firm that owns crypto exchange Kraken – for several hundred billion pounds in damages, arguing that only he has the right to use the Bitcoin brand.
Wright’s lawyer, Simon Cohen, told City A.M. the lawsuit could be the “highest value claim to have ever come before the English courts.”
The lawsuit comes as the computer scientist claims a niche Bitcoin fork, called Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), is the only real version of Bitcoin, and that Kraken and Coinbase have misled investors by marketing their own cryptocurrencies using the Bitcoin name.
The High Court fight comes amid continued speculation as to the true identity of Bitcoin developer Satoshi Nakamoto.
Claims that Wright invented Bitcoin first appeared in 2015, after Wired magazine pointed towards the computer scientist as the creator of the cryptocurrency.
The tech magazine later cast doubt on those claims, after calling Wright a “brilliant hoaxer” – an allegation the computer scientist strenuously denies.
The lawsuit comes as part of a legal campaign being launched by Wright, which has seen him sue various high-profile figures in the cryptocurrency community.
In 2019, Wright sued and later dropped a lawsuit against Ethereum developer Vitalik Buterin after he alleged Wright had lied about inventing Bitcoin.
In seeking to counter the 51-year-old businessman, the Crypto Open Patent Alliance, a non-profit organization backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg, is currently pursuing Wright in the UK courts in a bid to establish that Wright is not the person behind Satoshi Nakamoto.
Coinbase and Kraken have been approached for comment.