Roger ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Ver is the latest target in Dr. Craig Wright’s pursuit of justice against those that seek to deny his claim to being the individual behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin.
On Thursday, Ver, who resides in Japan, attended a hastily organized Bitcoin Cash (BCH) confab at a London watering hole. Billed as a ‘social event without formal talks, panels or debates,’ it ended up being slightly more than that when Ver was served with legal papers by Dr. Wright’s representatives.
Wright’s legal claim for libel against Ver is based on a video Ver posted to Bitcoin.com’s official YouTube channel on April 15. The video, titled ‘Special Message to Craig Wright,’ featured Ver stating to the camera that “Craig Wright is a liar and a fraud. So sue me. Again.”
On May 1, Wright’s attorneys sent a letter to Ver and Bitcoin.com warning them that legal action would follow unless Ver agreed to make a public apology for his allegations against Wright.
The video was ultimately deleted after one of Ver’s Twitter followers pointed out that posting libelous material in Japan is both a civil and a criminal offense, punishable by up to three years in prison. However, Ver has yet to issue the necessary apology to Wright, either via his personal online accounts or via Bitcoin.com.
As a result, Ver was served Thursday with Wright’s libel claim, which was filed with the UK’s Royal Courts of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division. Wright is seeking £100k in monetary damages as well as an injunction restraining Ver and any of his affiliated entities from making further allegations of this nature.
For the record, prior to Thursday’s action, Wright had never taken legal action against Ver, so it’s unclear what the ‘again’ portion of Ver’s video refers to. Regardless, it seems both unfair and unwise for Ver to lay blame for his other legal problems at Wright’s door.
It’s equally unwise to assume that one can publicly disseminate falsehoods to attack a competitor – Wright is the driving force behind the Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) protocol, which boasts a capacity for on-chain scaling that poses an existential threat to BCH and other cryptocurrencies – without expecting that competitor to pursue all legal means of defending his reputation.
BSV was recently the target of a campaign to delist the technology from numerous crypto exchanges, including some with connections to Ver, who played an active role in this anti-competitive mob action. It’s worth noting that this campaign resulted in a brief surge in the value of BCH at the direct expense of BSV.
It’s also worth noting that Ver publicly supported Wright’s Satoshi claims right up until the point that Wright broke off from Ver’s BCH camp to launch BSV. Ver will soon have an opportunity – in a court of law – to offer a final opinion on what he truly believes regarding Wright’s claim.
While we await Ver’s decision, and for the overall crypto industry to move beyond its adolescent antics, crypto advocates of all stripes are invited to attend the CoinGeek Conference in Toronto on May 29-30, where the focus will be on technology, not lawsuits.