Adam Back files previously unseen Satoshi Nakamoto emails in Craig Wright trial


Adam Back has submitted his early correspondence with Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto to a UK court as part of his testimony in the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) vs. Craig Wright trial on Feb. 22.

Back is testifying against Wright, who claims to be the creator of Bitcoin and wants to assert a copyright claim on the Bitcoin whitepaper and associated materials.

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COPA noted that Wright’s claim “stops the development of bitcoin [and] chills and silences developers.” According to the group, this makes the outcome a matter of public interest and Bitcoin developer safety.

The emails

In one email, Nakamoto acknowledged Back’s Bitcoin precursor, Hashcash, writing:

“I’m getting ready to release a whitepaper that references your Hashcash whitepaper and I wanted to make sure that I have the citiation right.”

Nakamoto referred to what would eventually become Bitcoin as a version of e-Cash — a technology offered by David Chaum’s DigiCash company until 1998.

In another email, Back suggested that Nakamoto read about a proposal called B-Money by Wei Dai. Nakamoto notably told Back that he had not read the B-Money web page but said that he would credit the author in his paper. B-Money is cited in the final Bitcoin whitepaper.

The development is noteworthy because Wright has previously claimed that he was inspired by B-Money when creating Bitcoin. However, the email suggests that Nakamoto was unaware of it until a few weeks before Bitcoin was launched.

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In his written witness statement, Back said that the discussion between himself and Nakamoto had been minimal, and he did not become interested in Bitcoin as a contributor until years later.

According to Back:

“It was not an elaborate conversation, and we didn’t get into a great deal of detail.”

He also said that he had never published the emails before.

Back’s testimony

During his testimony, Back highlighted contradictions that could support COPA’s case against Wright based on his second witness statement.

Back said that he does not believe B-Money influenced Nakamoto based on his emails. He also argued against Wright’s claim that he was dismissive of any attempt to create digital cash.

Furthermore, Back denied Wright’s assertion that Bitcoin relies on an algorithm other than Hashcash, noting that his own Hashcash v.0 predates the alternative algorithm.

COPA’s case against Wright began on Feb. 5, with the court case taking various turns since then.

Wright has maintained his stance and denied COPA’s allegations of forgery and plagiarism. Meanwhile, various COPA members and early Bitcoin contributors who interacted with Nakamoto have provided testimony that refutes his claim of creating Bitcoin.

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Author: Mike Dalton


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