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Craig Wright Loses Lawsuit Against Hodlonaut in Norway Over Satoshi Nakamoto Claims

“I expected to win, since truth is so clearly on my side in this case,” Hodlonaut told Decrypt of his legal victory.

3 min read
Craig Wright claims to have invented Bitcoin under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Image: Decrypt

Magnus Granath, who goes by “Hodlonaut” on Twitter, has won a lawsuit in Norway against Craig Wright, court documents revealed Thursday. Wright has long claimed he is the pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto—but Hodlonaut and many others have publicly challenged Wright’s claims.

“I won. Welcome to law,” Hodlonaut tweeted in response to the Norwegian judge’s decision—a callback to Wright’s now infamous “welcome to law” threat that he issued against Hodlonaut and several others in 2019 after filing a series of defamation lawsuits.

Hodlonaut filed the case in Norway in an effort to prove that the numerous tweets he published about Wright and Wright’s Nakamoto claims were, in fact, not defamatory—a way of getting ahead of a pending defamation case in the U.K. Hearings for the Norwegian case began last month on September 12.

“I expected to win, since truth is so clearly on my side in this case,” Hodlonaut told Decrypt via DM. “I am very happy that the judge saw it the same way.”

According to the Norwegian ruling, translated by CoinDesk, Hodlonaut tweeted in 2019 that Wright was a “pathetic scammer,” “cringe,” “clearly mentally ill,” and repeatedly called him a “fraud,” even creating a hashtag slamming Wright in a satirical manner.

During the trial, Wright called such statements “obviously very defamatory.”

“There’s a difference between a debate and strong language and truth,” Wright said.

Hodlonaut appears to have many supporters. A website called DefendingBTC links to a donation page that indicates nearly 2,700 individuals donated over 71 Bitcoin and $74,000 toward legal defense costs for the bitcoiner.

In 2019, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao also tweeted in support of Hodlonaut with the message, “Craig Wright is not Satoshi.” 

Andrew Rossow, an adjunct professor of law and attorney who is familiar with Holdonaut's case, told Decrypt via email that Thursday's ruling was to be expected, arguing that Wright's claims were of such a bold, controversial nature, that it almost inevitably welcomes pushback and disagreement.

There isn't any proof that we know of right now that would affirm Wright's claims, which opens the door to such criticisms that we've seen here from Granath, Rossow said.

Preston Byrne, legal partner at Brown Rudnick, called Wright’s previous U.K. “victory” in August against podcaster Peter McCormack “pyrrhic.” Wright had sought damages from McCormack but was only awarded a single English pound, currently worth $1.13 USD, in part because Wright presented “deliberately false” evidence in the case, the court said.

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