Anon's Challenge: Cøbra Grapples with $700K Legal Fees in UK Court Decision Against Craig Wright
In a recent legal development, the operator of the pseudonymous Bitcoin.org platform lost an appeal concerning a previous ruling. This ruling stated that the individual, known as Cøbra, could not contest the substantial legal fees imposed by self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright while maintaining their anonymity.
A London High Court Judge affirmed on Monday the earlier decision that operators of the Bitcoin.org website, including the pseudonymous Cøbra, must disclose their true identity to avoid facing significant legal costs imposed by Craig Wright, who asserts himself as the original mind behind Bitcoin.
The legal dispute emerged in April 2021 when Wright served Cøbra with legal papers regarding the copyright of Bitcoin's foundational document, known as the whitepaper. Wright, an Australian computer scientist who has persistently claimed to be the enigmatic author Satoshi Nakamoto, alleged that operators of the Bitcoin.org website had violated his rights by publishing the whitepaper. According to Wright, as the self-proclaimed Satoshi, he held the copyright to this critical document.
Following Cøbra's absence in court proceedings, a judge ordered the removal of the whitepaper from the website. Subsequently, when Cøbra attempted to contest Wright's demand for £568,516.42 (equivalent to $704,500) in legal fees, a London High Court Judge ruled in November that, to challenge these costs, Cøbra needed to disclose their identity.
On Monday, London High Court Justice Richard Smith dismissed Cøbra's appeal against the November ruling. He stated that while there are valid reasons for parties to seek anonymity in legal matters, including concerns for personal safety, Cøbra's grounds for remaining unidentified appeared "not only unworkable but also risked undermining the very principles of natural justice." This was because Cøbra sought to maintain anonymity "not only in the eyes of the public, but also against the Claimant [Wright] and the court itself."
Within the cryptocurrency community, pseudonymous figures, such as Cøbra, who play significant roles as community members, developers, or influencers, are quite common. This may shed light on Cøbra's determination to preserve their anonymity. Meanwhile, Wright is actively pursuing various legal actions globally regarding the Bitcoin whitepaper, including a defamation lawsuit over assertions that he is Satoshi.
Representatives for Wright informed Bitsday on Monday that they are awaiting guidance on the next steps, including whether Cøbra is now obligated to fully cover the incurred expenses. Legal representatives for Cøbra did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Bitsday.
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