Dr Craig Steven Wright v The Person or Persons Unknown Responsible for the Operation and Publication of the Website www.bitcoin.org (including the person or persons using the pseudonym “CØbra”)
Shaman Kapoor has been successful in resisting the participation of a party at detailed assessment who refused to reveal their identity (“unknown party”). The unknown party instructed a costs lawyer and counsel. The case unravelled the troubling fact that costs lawyers are not obliged by their regulatory regime to conduct KYC or AML checks when being instructed by a client. It raised practical and regulatory concerns for a solicitor receiving payments from an unknown source on account of an adverse order for payment. It explored the extent to which “persons unknown” could take positive action in proceedings whilst doing nothing more to reveal their identity, and whether dialogue through a nominated email address (expressly permitted to be used for service) amounted to submitting to the jurisdiction without more.
The substantive proceedings concerned the claimant’s claim for infringement of copyright in a literary work entitled “Bitcoin: a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” which had become known as “the White Paper”, and which the defendant made available on the website. The pseudonym CØbra was used on the website to describe the domain owner. The White Paper was itself released under a pseudonym of ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ and the author of the White Paper is widely thought to be the creator of Bitcoin. Since at least 2016 the Claimant has maintained that he did create Bitcoin and was the author of the White Paper.
Permission to appeal has been granted.
The team at ONTIER LLP, in particular, James Dixon and Simon Cohen, have worked tirelessly to achieve a successful outcome.