Norway’s OSLO Hodlonaut, a prominent crypto Twitter user, and Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who has long claimed to be the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin, are engaged in a legal dispute.
The trial began on Monday and is one of two concurrent defamation lawsuits focusing on a string of tweets sent in 2019 by Hodlonaut, who labelled Wright a phoney and a fraudster. At the time, Hodlonaut was a public school teacher with less than 8,000 followers on Twitter.
The seven-day trial examines whether Norway’s freedom of expression laws applied to the tweets in question. If Hodlonaut prevails, Wright would not be able to seek libel damages in connection with the tweets in his lawsuit against Hodlonaut in the United Kingdom.
I need your help to finish a fight that began back in March, 2019. https://t.co/iR55reaLKW
— hodlonaut 🌮⚡🔑 🐝 (@hodlonaut) August 18, 2022
Hodlonaut’s attorneys gave their opening remarks by delving into the legend surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto. They laid out a history of Wright’s hotly contested assertions and his propensity for fabricating papers and other evidence to bolster his position.
During Salvesen Haukaas’ opening statements, no new proof was given about Satoshi’s identity or Wright’s claimed fraud.
Documents from Wright’s prior legal disputes, such as the 2021 lawsuit brought by his former friend Dave Kleiman, and records from his 2015 legal issues with the Australian Tax Office, in which Australian authorities accused Wright of fabricating evidence and falsely claiming to be Satoshi, were presented to District Court Judge Helen Engebrigtsen.
The environment of crypto Twitter
However, things turned unexpected when lawyer Marie Bjrk Myklebust sought to contextualise Hodlonaut’s tweets against Wright.
Wright’s attorneys allege in their initial lawsuit that Hodlonaut’s creation of the hashtag #CraigWrightIsAFraud in the March 2019 tweets caused severe harm to [Wright’s] reputation and led [Wright] to suffer hurt to his feelings.
However, Myklebust noted that hundreds of tweets with the hashtag “#Faketoshi” were sent between November 2018 and March 2019, far earlier than Hodlonaut’s tweets related to Wright.
She then read tweets in which users accused Wright of being a faker and demanded that he provide cryptographic proof that he is Satoshi. She also read out his frequently venomous replies, in which he called his detractors and other prominent crypto figures “losers,” “scum,” “frauds,” “soy boys,” and “cucks,” the latter two of which she had to translate into Norwegian.
Myklebust remarked to the court, “Mr Wright contributes to making a climate with strong words, strong statements. He is not interested in objective conversation about his evidence” that he is Satoshi.”
Wright’s legal team will have the opportunity to address the court in their opening remarks on Tuesday.