Peter McCormack lawyers up as Craig Wright pursues libel claim

Bitcoin podcaster Peter McCormack has lawyered up in a valiant if futile attempt to defend himself against libel claims filed by Dr. Craig Wright.

On Friday, podcaster McCormack formally acknowledged the libel claim filed against him in April by Wright in the UK High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division. Wright filed the claim after McCormack publicly accused him of fraud for claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin.

McCormack now has 21 days in which to file his defence, which McCormack claims will be handled by RPC. McCormack also announced plans to crowdfund his defence, despite previous claims not to be seeking anyone’s financial help in defending his ill-advised utterances.

On May 29, McCormack’s Twitter feed, which has devolved into a Henry Ford-worthy assembly line of anti-Wright attacks, engaged in a lengthy musing on whether he should choose to fight Wright’s claim in court. McCormack fretted that there was “the potential of a serious downside should the case be lost, both personally and for Bitcoin.”

Well, yes and no. The potential for serious personal downside for McCormack is obvious, although the time for worrying about that is before publicly demanding someone sue them for libel. But having the Court uphold Wright’s Satoshi claim wouldn’t hurt Bitcoin – if anything, it might save it.

Wright’s support for the Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) technology poses an existential threat to Bitcoin pretenders, which can’t hope to match BSV’s capacity for massive on-chain scaling. Small wonder that they will go to absurd lengths to denigrate Wright, in the hope that some of their FUD will rub off on BSV.

Speaking of, McCormack has repeatedly accused Wright of ‘libel tourism,’ apparently based on the fact that Wright – who was born in Australia but also holds citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda – filed his claim in the UK, um, where the person accused of libel calls home. Wright has also lived in London for years, but clearly McCormack would have preferred the libel suit be filed in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Throughout this process, McCormack appears to have confused martyrdom with virtue. He’s like one of those World War II Japanese soldiers who’d willingly throw themselves onto barbed wire so their comrades in arms could climb over their bodies and press home the attack. Such acts are unquestionably brave but ultimately misguided if pursued for an ignoble cause, such as sacking Nanking or libeling an inventor because you support a rival technology.

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