First it was BTC’s Core developers and websites… now Square is in Dr. Craig Wright’s sights. Dr. Wright’s legal team sent a letter to the digital payments company’s via its associated Square Crypto team this week, advising it to remove download links to the 2008 Bitcoin white paper on squarecrypto.org.
Dr. Wright this week started flexing his IP muscles as he began to launch actions against various groups who make the white paper and related materials available on their sites. As author of the paper, he retains copyright to its use and has noted that the paper is not covered by Bitcoin’s open source MIT software license.
Square shares a co-founder with Twitter, Jack Dorsey. Dorsey has talked about BTC (erroneously referring to it as “Bitcoin“) many times on Twitter and elsewhere. He has referred to it as “the best native currency of the internet,” despite the BTC network being notoriously restricted with fees per transaction regularly costing double-digit dollar amounts, not to mention very slow at settling payments unlike the electronic cash described in the Bitcoin White Paper.
The company spent at least US$50 million buying BTC itself in October 2020, and allows users to purchase BTC via its Cash App.
Square Crypto is an officially “independent” arm of the company that works to develop open source projects for BTC and the Lightning Network, and provides grants to developers and organizations. Among the projects it has given grants to is Chris Belcher’s CoinSwap, which “lets you stick it to the man by substantially improving Bitcoin’s privacy and fungibility.”
A large link button to the Bitcoin white paper appears at the bottom of Square Crypto’s homepage, and the paper itself is a PDF hosted on Square Crypto’s domain.
— Square Crypto (@sqcrypto) January 21, 2021
Earlier, Dr. Wright’s legal team at ONTIER LLP had sent similar letters to BitcoinCore.org (which provides information and downloads for the BTC Core protocol software), Bitcoin.org (the original information portal actually owned but not controlled by Dr. Wright), and Bitcoin.com (Roger Ver’s site that mostly promotes BCH).
BitcoinCore.org complied with the request almost immediately, while Bitcoin.org administrator “Cøbra” issued a strongly-worded intent to defy it. At press time, Bitcoin.com has not yet commented publicly on the matter.
Craig Wright: this is just the beginning
The letter to Square Crypto also hinted Dr. Wright intends to enforce his copyright claims on more than just the Bitcoin white paper. It added:
“We should add that our client, and others associated with him, have further rights relating to the Bitcoin technology and the Bitcoin name. It is their firm intention to enforce such rights in due course.”
In comments on the MetaNetICU private chat group (and since shared widely), Dr. Wright described this first series of legal letters as an “initial volley”, and “just a nudge” to get everyone’s attention—hinting that a far larger-scale strategy is about to be deployed in 2021.
This may also include more serious claims related, as Dr. Wright said, to other Bitcoin technologies. He has mentioned in interviews that he retains copyright to the Bitcoin transaction database itself — a key part of BTC’s and BCH’s functionality, as well as Bitcoin (BSV). BTC and BCH are infringing copyright by using the database, he said, and thus any platform dealing with trading or promotion of those assets is also participating in that infringement.
The overall goal is to prove definitively and legally that Dr. Wright is the creator of Bitcoin (under the “Satoshi Nakamoto” pseudonym), and as such owns intellectual property regarding its use and naming. Should the claims succeed in court, only Bitcoin BSV could continue to legally be known and used under the Bitcoin name (and underlying technologies)—something that would have a dramatic impact on the almost US$900 billion digital asset market.
Watch Dr. Craig Wright tell Ryan X. Charles the background of Bitcoin.org and as they use the Way Back Machine to prove the Satoshi PGP key changed in 2011:
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.