Saturday, June 10

Concern Grows About Potential Impact of Lawsuits on Bitcoin Developers

Key facts:
  • According to Maxwell, this is not the time for developers to ask for public help against lawsuits

  • Developers have to think about the cost of litigation before working on Bitcoin.

Lawsuits and court matters are the new threat for Bitcoin (BTC) developers. Faced with the multimillion-dollar pressure that can be exerted by characters like Craig S. Wright against those who collaborate with the protocol of the first cryptocurrency, many have preferred to give up and stop participating.

so what suggests one of the top developers on the webGregory Maxwell. For him, anyone involved in the development of Bitcoin “runs the risk of being the subject of multiple multimillion-dollar lawsuits.”

Maxwell’s comments were posted on Reddit, where he was part of a discussion around updates to the protocol and revisions that need to be made.


As an example, he cited himself, who, despite the fact that he had not been involved in the development of the network for several years, received complaints in 2021 by Wright, who proclaims himself the “creator” of Bitcoin, the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto.

“We were sued on May 12, 2021. I have been trying to convince the community that (Craig) Wright was a real threat for several years to no avail – because his scam is so obvious to many people, they don’t seem to believe he is a real threat. threat until they face reality personally. I also understand that the active developers were sent formal threats of two additional lawsuits on or about November 10, 2021, and Wright made a series of public statements regarding a fourth cause of action on December 29, 2021, which has yet to be resolved. turned into a formal threat.

Gregory Maxwell, Bitcoin developer.

Craig Wright, the computer scientist who claims to be the creator of Bitcoin and has sued developers. Source:

And who is Wright? In simple words, he is an Australian computer scientist and businessman. who claims to be the creator of the Bitcoin white paper. For his actions, such as suing other developers who run the protocol, he has earned rejection from the international bitcoiner community.

However, as explained by Maxwell, many people denied the threat Wright posed to Bitcoin. “They were left thinking it was just a troll of the Internet who wanted attention, unable to believe that someone could fall in love with him.


But the facts show the opposite. As reported by CriptoNoticias, this businessman came to be favored in June by the ruling of a British court. At that time, the developer of was forced to to remove the Cryptocurrency White Paper from their website.

Although that did not last long. In December, this medium reported the setback suffered by Wright. The High Court of England and Wales denied a motion to exclude evidence at a hearing that sought to determine if the computer scientist is the true author of the founding document of Bitcoin.

This, after receiving a lawsuit from the organization COPA (Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance), created by Square (current Block), in which a declaration was requested. that he is not the author, nor the copyright owner of the Bitcoin White Paper.

Costs for working in Bitcoin

Maxwell points out that while there are clear benefits to working on Bitcoin, such as simply contributing to the new economy, also has its costs, and one of them is, precisely, litigation and all that it entails.

“There are benefits to working on Bitcoin, but there are also many costs – an entire book could easily be written on the subject. These legal attacks and the threat of their continuation are a very substantial additional cost to consider,” he explained.

And for that, he warned, collaborators have absolutely stopped, “both because of the direct attack and because of the historic lack of community support to address the exposure.”

In fact, it is known that there have been Bitcoin developers who recently quit. In December, CriptoNoticias reported the dismissal of one of them, John Newbery, who said he would be leaving “for some time”, without giving details about his return.

If you talk about profits, it is known that Bitcoin, being a collaborative project with more than 100 contributors contributing to its code, is still operating, but thanks to volunteer work and grants that companies and institutions usually give to developers.

The High Court of Justice in England which ruled against Craig Wright in December. Fountain: TripAdvisor.

Regarding the anonymity of the developers as a way to continue participating without running the risk of being sued by Craig Wright’s legal team, he explained that, although there are collaborators operating clandestinely, It’s not something that important. This, because “several of the defendants like me have not developed Bitcoin for years, but Wright just turns around and claims that we are doing it in secret.”

“The best protection [para los desarrolladores] is that any user can, at any time, become a contributor for themselves, if the need arises,” Maxwell said.

Ask for help?

The developer of Bitcoin specified that, until now, they have not requested public help to protect themselves and face Wright’s lawsuits, since “the time is not right” and, furthermore, “court cases are extremely slow.”

In fact, he says that if they make “a big fuss” now, “by the time there is more to do, the matter will be old news and will have lost the public’s attention.”

Thus, consider that the most important thing to do right now not directly related to the lawsuit against current and former developers, because the process “is already advancing”. “And unless you want to help the investigation of Wright’s activities, there is nothing that can be done at this time,” he said.

However, help is available. Earlier this month, CriptoNoticias reported that Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and CEO of Block, launched a Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund, to provide legal assistance to network developers.

The bitcoiner argued that the absence of legal support has led some developers to capitulate in the face of lawsuits and other litigation against him.

“Open source developers, who are often independent, are especially susceptible to legal pressure. In response, we propose a coordinated and formal response to defend them,” Dorsey said at the time.

But it is late, four years late. At least for Gregory Maxwell. He suggests that the industry “has been aggressively and systematically insensitive and dismissive of the threat for years and that still hasn’t changed.”

Gregory Maxwell, one of the most important Bitcoin developers in the community. Fountain: CoinDesk.

“Yes, it is true that recently a couple of people have proposed to initiate some protection actions, but it is four years late. In particular, many things that could have been done to address this were not and cannot be done effectively after the lawsuits started flying, or may even backfire now that they could be characterized as a self-serving response to an aggrieved party. Better late than never, but it’s not done yet and can only partially undo the damage created by delays.”

Gregory Maxwell, Bitcoin developer.

Lawsuits, as Maxwell paints it, although they are a determining factor for the operability of developers, they do not mean the partial halt of their collaborations. China is a key example of how persecution can sometimes end up reinforcing what it wants to destroy.