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Craig Wright must pay $516K to sue Kraken, Coinbase

craig-wright-516k-case-kraken-coinbase
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Craig Wright must pay $516K to sue Kraken, Coinbase

Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin (BTC), must pay $516,000 in legal costs to pursue claims against crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken. 

James Mellor, the presiding judge at the England and Wales High Court, issued a judgment on July 27, expressing doubts about Wright’s ability to fund the legal expenses, pointing to inconsistent statements about his financial position.

The case revolves around trademark infringement, with Wright asserting that he owns the rights to the name “Bitcoin.” He argues that the exchanges cannot use the term for assets like BTC and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which he believes deviates from his original system.

The preliminary judgment required Wright’s company, Wright International Investments Ltd (WII), to provide security deposits of $323,900 and $193,000 for the legal costs of Coinbase and Kraken, respectively. However, the judge imposed a different order on Wright personally due to uncertainties about WII’s residency and business activities.

The evidence provided by Wright in response to the defendant’s application for security for costs was deemed insufficient by the judge. This raised concerns about the availability of funds to cover potential legal expenses.

The case explores complex issues such as trademark law and blockchain immutability. However, doubts about Wright’s claimed identity as Satoshi Nakamoto and his control over early Bitcoin mining rewards continue to shadow the proceedings.

Additional rulings to shape the case

Judge Mellor’s rulings have significant implications for the future of Wright’s Bitcoin trademark cases. 

He decided to stay the infringement lawsuits against Coinbase and Kraken until the resolution of a previous case, Crypto Open Patent Alliance v Craig Steven Wright, which aims to determine whether Wright is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto. 

If Wright loses that case, it could sink his trademark lawsuit against the exchanges. 

On the other hand, if Wright is affirmed as the creator of Bitcoin, his trademark cases can continue.

The judge’s latest decision places the burden on Wright to provide satisfactory evidence of his ability to pay the costs, which he failed to do, rather than on the plaintiffs to prove his funds.