Craig Wright’s Case Against Bitcoin Developers Headed to Full Trial
Tulip Trading – a Seychelles-based company founded by Craig Wright – has successfully brought its case against multiple Bitcoin developers to trial in the United Kingdom.
Wright’s firm alleges that these developers owe “fiduciary duties,” or “duties of care” to police and control the Bitcoin network.
The Duties of Bitcoin Developers
The ruling, handed down on February 3, marks a successful appeal from Tulip to the U.K. Court of Appeals to overturn a decision previously dismissed in March 2022.
Initially, a judge had ruled against Tulip on the merit of its claim, arguing that “there was no realistic prospect of establishing that the facts pleaded amount to a breach
of fiduciary or tortious duty owed by the defendants to Tulip.” Among the 16 named defendants were Bitcoin Core’s former lead maintainer Wladimir Jasper van der Laan, “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver, and the Bitcoin Association for BSV.
When the court overturned the ruling on Friday, it determined that Tulip’s claims present a “serious issue to be tried,” rather than a “fanciful prospect of success.” A full trial is now expected early next year in London.
As listed in the court documents, Tulip had four main grounds for appealing their case. These included the facts that the case applied to a developing area of the law, and that the judge was wrong to assume Tulip had no real prospect of proving its claims.
According to Lord Justices Popplewell, Lewison, and Birss, the duty, in this case, can only be decided “once the facts are established,” and deeming Tulip’s case inarguable would require assuming certain facts in favor of the developers “which are disputed and which cannot be resolved this way.”
“If the decentralized governance of bitcoin really is a myth, then in my judgment there is much to be said for the submission that bitcoin developers, while acting as developers, owe fiduciary duties to the true owners of that property,” they concluded.
Who is Craig Wright?
Craig Wright styles himself as Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto and has launched numerous lawsuits against those who deride him as a liar for making those claims.
He lost one such lawsuit to the popular Twiter Bitcoiner Hodlonaut in October when a Norwegian judge declared the latter to have sufficient grounds to call Wright a “fraud” and “scammer.” After the ruling, famous whistleblower Edward Snowden also called out Wright for being a liar.
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.