Granath v Wright Day 6: Experts skeptical of Hodlonaut’s KPMG report

Granath v Wright Day 6: Experts skeptical of Hodlonaut’s KPMG report

Granath v Wright entered its second week on Monday, with the last of the expert witnesses taking the stand and plaintiff Magnus “Hodlonaut” Granath’s counsel beginning their closing arguments.

Day 6 of the trial brought the expert testimony from KPMG on Friday full circle: Dr. Craig Wright—the defendant in this case—produced expert witnesses from BDO and firm CYFOR who had done their own analysis on the documents examined by KPMG in building their expert report. All three experts expressed concerns about deficiencies in the KPMG report, most of all the absence of any detail regarding the testing environment used by the firm in analyzing the documents.

As a result, BDO and CYFOR could not replicate the steps taken by KPMG in their analysis, while the analysis they did do produced surprising results which conflict with those of KPMG. For instance, one of the documents which KPMG reported as containing anomalies was a copy of the Bitcoin white paper uploaded to SSRN. But the checksum KPMG listed for the document they analyzed is different from the checksum of the document currently available for download from SSRN. Halvor Manshaus from Schjodt, the firm representing Dr. Wright, pressed KPMG’s experts on this on Friday, and the discrepancy wasn’t explained.

Thomas Dahl, the first of the BDO witnesses, also said that KPMG’s conclusion that the documents were manipulated was too strong, and that when analyzing documents in this way it’s important to focus on innocence as well as guilt, saying that KPMG’s focus was overwhelmingly on finding signs of manipulation.

He also cautioned generally about forming a view on metadata from documents which originate in 2008 or even earlier, as many of the documents in this case do: chain of custody and chain of evidence are important here just like they would be for any other kind of evidence. Documents might be passed from machine to machine, operating system to operating system, intentionally or unintentionally modified by any number of people and inadvertently affected by other programs, such as antivirus software.

How this testimony mixes with that of KPMG on Friday will be seen in the eyes of the court is hard to gauge. Apart from calling the documents manipulated, KPMG didn’t make any findings as to who might have done the supposed manipulating and for what reason, and we know from this case and previous cases involving Dr. Wright that there is a galaxy of documents associated with Dr. Wright’s history as Satoshi Nakamoto, not all of it produced by him and not all of it authentic. To say that there are documents within the millions of pages of evidence filed across these cases which have been manipulated isn’t news. Add to that the fact that the court heard of discrepancies within the KPMG report, and it’s tough to see how much weight it will hold—particularly given Dr. Wright’s parade of witnesses from last week.

With the last of the experts having given testimony, the trial entered its final phase: closing arguments. Granath’s attorneys went first. Ørjan Salvesen Haukaas, Granath’s lead attorney, presented the case as he saw it: Dr. Wright is using the legal system as a way to establish himself as Satoshi Nakamoto.

“The question the court is going to make up their mind about is not whether [Craig Wright] is Satoshi or not. The court needs to make up its mind whether he’s entitled to restitution from Granath,” Haukaas said.

He said that Dr. Wright had insisted on proving himself in large part by relying on witnesses who can attest to what he was up to in the years leading up to Bitcoin’s release. He went through each of the witnesses the court heard last week—people like Stefan Matthews, who Haukaas said was invested in Dr. Wright’s status as Satoshi Nakamoto both financially and as a point of personal pride, and like Max Lynam’s cousin who testified that he and his father had mined the earliest Bitcoins at Dr. Wright’s request from 2008: Haukaas criticized Lynam for his mistaken belief that Dr. Wright had invented blockchain as well as Bitcoin.

None of these witnesses, according to Haukaas, should be given any weight by the court. On the contrary, he says that the absence of key witnesses—like the much-harangued Gavin Andresen—should be taken as a red flag for Dr Wright’s case.

Granath’s attorneys will continue delivering their closing arguments on Wednesday, which is set to be the last day of Granath v Wright. A scheduling conflict means that there will be no trial on Tuesday.

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