A Prominent Bitcoin Promoter is Punished for Sharing the Satoshi Original Paper and Bitcoin Core Developers Surrender
Sad day for freedom of speech in cryptography. The self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto Craig Wright has won a legal battle claiming copyright infringement on the part of bitcoin.org for hosting the Bitcoin original whitepaper.
After censorship of Garcia paper (Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft vs Garcia, et al, EWHC 1832, 25 June 2013). This is another very sad day for cryptography research in the UK.
A very curious statement was issued by Dr Craig lawyers:
“Dr Wright does not(?) wish to restrict access to his(?) White Paper. However, he does not agree that it should be used by supporters and developers of alternative? assets, such as Bitcoin Core, to promote? or otherwise misrepresent? those assets as being Bitcoin given that they do not support??? or align? with the vision for Bitcoin as he set out in his White Paper.”
This shows what it is all about, it is an attempt to challenge the reputation of bitcoin, as the main and the biggest implementation of Satoshi Nakamoto bitcoin. Most likely for profit: bitcoin market cap is 650 Billion US$ at the moment of writing.
Of course that Craig Wright wishes to restrict access to this paper, or at least to attack the vision created by this very paper. It is an attack on the bitcoin ecosystem, community and values. This paper, once published is a public good, and no one should be restricted from accessing it, or sharing it as part of their crypto currency research or development activity. It was initially published anonymously and with a clear intention of being published anonymously. This intention transpires from the paper, and is part of the Satoshi original vision. Bitcoin is expected to be a self-organising anarchic cooperative, controlled mainly by to those who represent the highest hashing power, which people can then decide or influence, basically through the longest chain rule and software updates, which bitcoin system blockchain or software will dominate the crypto payment market. Rather than an old-school private monopoly, controlled by one wealthy individual, unable to gather this type of strong majority support, and using the powers of the courts and the police in order to exclude and intimidate others. .
It is not the first time that Craig Wright is trying to restrict free speech, as in the recent infamous defamation lawsuit for calling Craig Wright a fraud on Twitter and two more defamation lawsuits against McCormack and Ver. Or even more problematic, in his notorious Florida lawsuit. All these litigation events, are clearly malicious and aggressive attempts, to intimidate others, to restrict the freedom of speech in cryptography, and indirectly, the freedom to engage in bitcoin transactions or to fork bitcoin software, as well as the freedom of propagating the original anonymous payment anarchy vision by Satoshi. This regardless whether Satoshi actually existed or not, and regardless what was the role of Craig Wright in early days of bitcoin many years ago.
The main fact about Satoshi, is that an anonymous paper was released in order to create bitcoin, and no one should try to destroy his legacy: of sharing this anonymous white paper and the ideas it contains. One can be critical about some major mistakes it contains (cf. slide 53 here and slide 50 here) of the fact that it talks about CPUs and it did not predict that the network will split into three almost entirely disjoint types of entities: peer nodes, miners, and transacting parties. Anyone can have their own interpretation, and their own blockchain. Everyone should be able to sharing this original file. It is very much like forbidding the church from preaching the gospel. Bitcoin developers are NOT acting as a publisher here, claiming to be or represent a certain Satoshi Nakamoto, or infringing any IP, but rather simply sharing the anonymous or pseudonymous crypto research paper which inspired them. This paper does de facto belong to the public domain. Crypto history knows primarily one single paper written by a mysterious anonymous author.
This is also very clearly how Satoshi intended his paper to be published. I think Satoshi wanted this paper to be viral, and a little bit underground, outside of the mainstream, rather than officially published in some crypto or security conference proceedings. Here the consensus of the academic research community rules, and no court in the world has jurisdiction in academic research ethics. Craig Wright is self-taught crypto entrepreneur, and officially a chief science officer at NChain, but, an interesting question is, is he a scientist or was he ever a scientist? Did he do a PhD in a technical field? Nope. How many papers in cryptography has Craig Wright published? Zero or close,except that he is trying to claim ownership of an old paper, and only after it became very famous. All these defamation cases hinge on one thing, the reportedly great “global reputation” Craig Wright has, which however he cannot demonstrate because it is rather inexistent. His primary academic background is being a lawyer, and his primary public activity is clearly not science, but a never ending stream of lawsuits.
In addition the defendant Cobra, who failed to defend himself properly, which probably he found difficult, expensive and in fact shameful and counter-productive, will have to pay 35,000 GBP to cover CW’s legal costs.
Courage and Resistance
The defendant Cobra has announced on bitcoin.org that he will continue hosting the bitcoin white paper which was published under the MIT licence on bitcoin.org, and that he will not be intimidated by Craig Wright and his UK lawyers. In contrast and sadly, bitcoin core developers on github have surrendered and removed the paper, claiming that they are just doing a specific implementation of bitcoin. They are simply scared and intimidated to continue sharing this paper, claiming that there is no evidence the Satoshi has released this paper with intention for it to be shared freely. They have just decided to give up on trying to represent the mainstream bitcoin. As a result you should expect bitcoin dominance to decline in the future, and again it will be a somewhat self-inflicted misery.
Shame on you bitcoin developers!
About Dubious Cryptographic Standards in Bitcoin Community
Open source development can be malicious, and for example it is extremely easy to infiltrate linux source code with dubious code, and banning university researchers from contributing to Linux does not help. It is like killing the messenger for bringing bad news.
This brings us to another question of censorship, cryptographic backdoors and wrongdoing at the very heart of bitcoin community.
It is June 2021, and why does the web site bitcoin.it, which is an extremely popular near-official bitcoin wiki website, still fraudulently claims today that “Bitcoin has a sound basis in well understood cryptography” see here, while omitting to simply mention the name of the peculiar bitcoin elliptic curve, namely the secp256k1 ???
They emphasise ECDSA, which is an already controversial crypto standard with deeply unclear and confused provable security status in crypto community, and they refer to payment standards endorsed by
by the US Government and used in credit card payments. However bitcoin precisely does NOT obey any of these traditional payment standards such as the elliptic curve endorsed and recommended by US government NIST and the NSA which was until recently a different curve secp256r1, also known as P-256, today replaced by its successor P-384.
Who would believe that the authors have just accidentally omitted to mention the name of the actual bitcoin elliptic curve secp256k1 here… Or was it in order to avoid a critical reader from finding information about this extremely controversial cryptographic primitive used in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which however no one else in mainstream crypto engineering world would approve of? Here is an old blog post on this topic and here are some slides from 2015. It seems that the bitcoin wiki is trying to hide some significant facts about bitcoin from the users of a financial system called bitcoin. This is is simply irresponsible and this sort of dubious propaganda where bugs are presented as features has been going on for nearly a decade now…