Hodlonaut, a pseudonymous Norwegian bitcoiner, and self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright have had their first day in a Norwegian court.
Magnus Granath (aka hodlonaut) began tweeting that Wright was a fraud back in 2019, saying that he could not be the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Now, Granath (aka hodlonaut) is the plaintiff in the court case that will decide whether his claims to freedom of speech following the 2019 tweets hold water under Norwegian law.
On Sep. 12, 2022, hodlonaut’s lawyer Ørjan Salvesen Haukaas made opening statements to Judge Helen Engebrigtsen. He explained Wright’s lack of a connection to bitcoin, and after that, presented documents from Wright’s previous legal battles. Granath’s lawyer also pointed to some of Wright’s tweets that were inconsistent with Nakamoto’s thinking.
Marie Bjørk Myklebust is another attorney on Granath’s legal team. She also demonstrated to the judge that tweets similar to hodlonaut’s original #CraigWrightIsAFraud existed before 2019. Myklebust pointed out that if Wright suffered reputational damage, it could not have started with Granath’s tweets.
Wright has been on the warpath to silence anyone refuting his claim to the bitcoin throne. Recently, he clashed with podcaster Peter McCormack. A judge ruled that McCormack’s comments caused significant harm to Wright’s reputation but awarded Wright only £1 in damages for deliberately advancing a false case with false evidence.
How we got here
Granath has received overwhelming support from the crypto community since Wright lawyered up following tweets by Granath claiming that Wright was a fraud.
Following Hodlonaut’s initial tweets, Wright responded by sending lawyers to request that Hodlonaut remove the tweets, apologize to Wright, and say in court that Wright was Nakamoto.
Hodlonaut sought legal advice and later filed a suit against Wright in Norway, asserting that his tweets were protected by freedom of speech. After unsuccessfully filing to bring a premature end to proceedings in Norway, Wright filed a libel lawsuit against hodlonaut in the U.K. After a lengthy legal process, a court ruled that hodlonaut pay Wright £112,000 in adverse cost. Adverse costs are paid to the opposing party in relation to court proceedings and may include fees, expenses, and remuneration.
The Norwegian trial was allowed to proceed, despite efforts by Wright to dismiss proceedings.
The court will hear statements from Wright’s nine lawyers on Sep. 13, 2022.
Hodlonaut supporters are not optimistic
Wright’s litigious record has bitcoiners scrambling for cover for fear that they may be next on his hit list. According to bitcoin developer Greg Maxwell, at least four long-standing developers have quit.
Maxwell is not optimistic about Hodlonaut’s chances of winning since Wright has little to lose.
Supporters of hodlonaut, despite raising $1.5 million, also doubt that a Hodlonaut victory will stop Wright.
The case is expected to last seven days.
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