Satoshi Norway Trial Day 1

Granath v Wright: Satoshi Trial 2022 begins in Norway

The trial in Granath v Wright has begun in Norway, as Magnus ‘Hodlonaut’ Granath attempts to convince the Oslo District Court that his Twitter rampage against Dr. Craig Wright did not amount to unlawful defamation.

It was an unusual moment: after years of impersonal conflict, from nasty jabs on social media to legal warnings to an extended lead-in to trial, Dr. Wright finally sat across from his accuser who until now had mostly been known as a foul-mouthed cat in a spacesuit. Under the Hodlonaut handle, Granath has variously called Dr. Wright ‘mentally ill,’ a ‘fraud,’ a ‘scammer’ and more.

The attacks obviously ceased (and the tweets were deleted) once Dr. Wright threated legal action in the U.K. if they weren’t removed and if Granath didn’t issue a retraction, but in their place sprung up a movement of support for Granath among the BTC crowd, which invited a renewed wave of attacks on Dr. Wright. This includes the delisting of BSV among digital currency exchanges in a near-express response to Dr Wright’s conflict with Granath. All the while, Granath himself managed to maintain almost total anonymity—until today, when Magnus Granath will finally have to stand by his statements in court.

“A judgment in this case will not establish beyond a reasonable doubt if Dr. Wright is Satoshi. Whether Dr. Wright is or is not Satoshi will support the case, however,” said the Judge in her opening remarks.

Indeed, owing to the nature of Granath’s insults, the question of how Dr. Wright came to be known as Satoshi Nakamoto will be a central feature throughout trial. But it’s not the most important one.

Beyond that, Granath’s team had the mic for the duration of the day as they delivered their opening arguments, essentially encapsulating the case they would be relying upon throughout trial.

Granath must convince the court that his tweets did not hold a defamatory meaning (although the parties appear to largely agree that they were) or alternatively, that they were not unlawful or otherwise justified. As a result, most of his airtime was spent telling their story of Dr. Wright’s claim to the Satoshi Nakamoto name.

By Granath’s lawyers, Dr. Wright adopted the Satoshi Nakamoto identity in order to escape a tax investigation in Australia, one which only relates to Bitcoin insofar as Dr. Wright has used it to justify erroneous tax positions. From there, they say he lied and forged his way in order to justify that one initial lie.

There is of course much more to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) story—Dr. Wright gave sworn testimony in Kleiman v Wright that he was the victim of relentless pursuit by the ATO since he created Bitcoin, either because they didn’t understand it or were deeply hostile to the idea of digital money. This is backed up by the fact that the day after Dr. Wright was involuntarily revealed as Satoshi by WIRED and Gizmodo, the ATO raided his home in Australia—a curious move if their interest in Dr. Wright was simply due to a bad tax return.

The lawyers also read out a long list of Dr. Wright’s tweets, many just as foul-mouthed as Hodlonaut’s own (maybe some a little more so). The intended effect was to show that Granath’s attacks on Dr. Wright were not outside of the normal level of discourse exemplified by Dr. Wright himself—although it’s worth mentioning here that anonymously calling somebody a mentally ill scammer is quite different than using colorful Australian slang to tell somebody off. It’s also worth mentioning that Granath began a campaign inviting others to attack Dr. Wright in addition to himself, and did so from the anonymity of his Hodlonaut profile.

These are no doubt points that Dr. Wright’s attorneys will pick up as they begin their own opening statements tomorrow. CoinGeek will be covering the rest of the trial live from the courtroom.

The trial is expected to wrap up on Thursday, September 22. CoinGeek will be providing daily coverage live from the trial in Oslo.

Watch Granath vs Wright Satoshi Norway Trial Coverage Livestream Day 1:

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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