Granath v Wright Day 5: Witness confirms Dr. Wright pitched Bitcoin to BDO pre-2008

The first week of Granath v Wright concluded Friday, with the court hearing of yet more testimony from former business associates of Dr. Wright—all of whom said Wright had spoken to them about Bitcoin before its publication (though not always in those precise terms) and that they were not surprised when Dr. Wright was revealed as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2015. 

In the middle of the week, Dr. Wright had passionately told the Judge that he is choosing the “hard way” to prove his identity, but one that he felt was the only real way: by relying on his education and experience, his own documents, his general body of work and the up to 100 people who can give first-hand attestations as to his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto. He spoke of this as his general ambition, but it appears the court is being treated to exactly that as he puts forward his defense against Granath.

There were three this morning, adding to the two presented yesterday. Their testimony was much like the others, though with their own flair. They were highly impressed by Dr. Wright’s professional and technical skills as an auditor, that they’d talked with him about the contents of the Bitcoin white paper before its release (though not always in those terms), and that they and their colleagues were not surprised when Dr. Wright was revealed as Bitcoin’s creator.

Shoaib Yousuf, the managing partner at Boston Consulting Group in Dubai, testified that he was both a co-student and a student of Dr. Wright’s at Charles Sturt University. In addition to his effusive praise of Dr. Wright’s broad base of knowledge, Yousuf said he’d visited Wright’s farm property in Port MacQuarie, the address it has long been told Wright retreated to hunker down and finish his development of Bitcoin. He said he was amazed by the office Dr. Wright had set up there: not only were there servers, there appeared to be a research library containing some 500 books.

Yousuf also said that Dr. Wright had talked to him about the need for a digital platform for payments that could serve as the de facto standard globally, referring to the inadequacy of Visa and Mastercard.

There was testimony from Neville Sinclair, a retired accountant and former partner at Grant Thornton who was at BDO at the same time Dr. Wright was. His testimony was perhaps most notable because he corroborated a piece of bombshell evidence that arose in the Kleiman trial, a set of handwritten meeting notes between Dr. Wright and his supervisor at BDO in which the notes indicate Wright was pitching something called “Timechain,” with a white paper set to be published in 2008. Sinclair confirmed this meeting took place and said that the supervisor (Alan Granger) came to Sinclair after the meeting to see if BDO or its clients might be interested in the project.

The trial has been full of these moments: corroborations of piecemeal bits of evidence produced over the years, which Wright’s critics easily dismiss as forgeries or red herrings, but inside a courtroom when those same bits of evidence are being attested to by independent professionals far removed from the crypto sphere, they’re much more difficult to ignore.

The Port MacQuarrie set-up is one. The Alan Granger meeting notes are another, and perhaps the most significant. But there were more, too. David Bridges, CIO at QDOS Bank in Australia, also engaged at BDO, said Dr. Wright offered him a job helping set up a Bitcoin Bank back in 2013, something that has long been part of Dr. Wright’s story.

Bridges also told the court that Dr. Wright had pitched the idea of a payment system without the need of a trusted intermediary to QDOS’ CEO and CFO: though they were interested, the bank didn’t have the resources to pursue it.

Max Lynam, Dr. Wright’s cousin, also testified. Lynam is the son of Donald Lynam, who gave a deposition in the Kleiman case. Max described his family as one of service, both in the armed forces and the civil service, going back four generations. Max confirmed all that Donald Lynam had said there: that Wright asked the two to run Bitcoin’s earliest node at their family farm in 2008, which they did until the back end of 2011. Lynam said he later learned they had mined 6,500 Bitcoin during this period.

“I can’t remember that there was anything specifically called Bitcoin white paper. Bitcoin wasn’t a thing, white papers, in my mind wasn’t a particular thing. But definitely with what is now referred to as the Bitcoin white paper, there were definitely documents that were shared with me that were talking about those types of technology and things Craig had been working on for Lasseters,” Lynam said. 

“In my mind it was just an iteration of the online tokenization and financial trade and being able to track and authorize and validate transactions and so forth. And so there were definitely papers talking about that. In my mind it was iteration after iteration after iteration,” he added.

Dr. Wright’s witnesses conclude today with one of the more affecting testimonies: Dr. Ami Klin, who was Dr. Wright’s autism expert in the Kleiman case, was in Norway to inform the court about autism and how it affects Dr. Wright’s behavior. It was important general knowledge—the court heard that those with autism lack the intuitive understanding of others’ behavior and motivations that most people have. But it also gave crucial context to Dr. Wright’s character—which given the trial is focused around a hate campaign engineered by Granath and directed at Dr. Wright—served as a counterweight to much of what’s been said about Dr. Wright in court in the first couple of days.

Dr. Klin, who diagnosed Dr. Wright, said he compensated for this lack of understanding in other people by gaining knowledge in other areas like geometry and literature, like many high-intellect sufferers of autism do. 

He commented on Dr. Wright’s background, saying that he has a history of being called many names and that, indeed, in his school years, much of what he did was a compensation for that: “I would say that if somebody did the same now, it would probably trigger the same feelings and experiences he had as a child and in adolescence.”

Granath v Wright will continue Monday, September 19.

Watch: Granath vs Wright Satoshi Norway Trial Coverage Livestream Day 5

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