Computer scientist Craig Wright has lost a claim in a UK court to protect the Bitcoin blockchain by copyright.
Wright, who has long asserted that he is Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, claimed that Bitcoin forks—spin-offs derived from the cryptocurrency—breach his intellectual property rights because he created the original digital asset.
There have been many Bitcoin forks but the largest is Bitcoin Cash, the 28th-largest digital asset, with a market cap of $2.56 billion, according to CoinGecko.
A UK court threw out the claim on Tuesday, with Judge James Mellor saying: “Whilst I accept that the law of copyright will continue to face challenges with new digital technologies, I do not see any prospect of the law as currently stated and understood in the caselaw allowing copyright protection of subject-matter which is not expressed or fixed anywhere.”
The Judge was referring to the issue of fixation—when something can be protected by copyright because it exists in its original form. He argued that “no relevant ‘work’ has been identified” showing Bitcoin’s origin.
Wright has never been able to prove that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. The most definitive way to do so would be to demonstrate that he has the private keys to Satoshi’s Bitcoin address—but lawyers for Wright told Decrypt in 2020 that he didn’t have them.
The Australian hinted in December that he may be less interested in people believing he is Bitcoin’s true creator.
Wright is currently in the process of suing 15 Bitcoin developers to retrieve around 111,000 bitcoin after he lost the encrypted keys to access them when his home computer network was allegedly hacked. A London court ruled last week that it can go to trial.