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Judge rules computer scientist not Bitcoin inventor

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright arrives at the High Court in London on 9 February
Dr Craig Wright

The judge overseeing a legal battle about who invented Bitcoin has ruled that it is not Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.

The question had been examined in a five week trial at the High Court.

The judge, Mr Justice Mellor, made his ruling as soon as the proceedings had concluded.

He had been expected to retire to consider the case but said he was able to reach a decision so quickly because the "evidence was overwhelming".

Bitcoin is the world's best known cryptocurrency - and has recently captured the headlines after surging to a new record high valuation.

But the identity of the person or people who invented it has always been unknown, other than they go by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Dr Wright, who is from Australia, has claimed to be Satoshi since 2016 - but his claims and evidence to back them up have long been questioned by cryptocurrency experts.

He has been in and out of court for years in legal battles with individuals who challenged his story.

Twitter founder

This case, heard at the Intellectual Property Court, a division of London's High Court, was brought by a group of Bitcoin companies.

A statue of pseudonymous Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto in Budapest, Hungary
Bitcoin fans built a statue to pay tribute to its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto in Budapest, Hungary

The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) - whose members include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's payments firm, Block - accused Dr Wright of creating a chilling effect on the development of the cryptocurrency because of his aggressive legal cases.

During the hearing, COPA's legal team said Dr Wright had carried out a "a massive campaign of dishonesty and forgery".

It even accused him of forging fresh documents while the proceedings were ongoing.

COPA's lawyer, Jonathan Hough, said elements of Dr Wight's conduct "stray into farce" - but he told the court it also had "deadly serious" consequences.

"On the basis of his dishonest claim to be Satoshi, he has pursued claims he puts at hundreds of billions of dollars, including against numerous private individuals," he told the trial.

Throughout the trial Dr Wright's legal team argued that if he was not the inventor then the real Satoshi Nakamoto would have come forward to discredit him.

Mr Justice Mellor agreed that Dr Wright was not who he said he was.

"Dr Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto", he told the court.

"Dr Wright is not the person who created the Bitcoin system."

He said he would give a full written judgement in due course.