As the commercial trial of the century (COPA et al. vs. Craig Wright) continues at the U.K. High Court, Dr. Craig Wright’s sartorial elegance is a daily source of fascination and entertainment for the thousands of people following along on social media. Dr. Wright is a man who likes a nice suit, and his taste for colorful self-expression is a nice segue into a very germane metaphor: that of ‘The Man in the White Suit.’ The 1950s Ealing Comedy, starring Alec Guinness (aka Obi-Wan Kenobi) as the eponymous Man in the White Suit, is an economic parable foreshadowing Craig’s trials.
It’s going to astound the world!—’Sidney Stratton’ (Alec Guinness) in The Man in the White Suit
The plot of the movie is well summarized by Wikipedia.
Sidney Stratton, a brilliant young research chemist and former Cambridge scholarship recipient, has been dismissed from jobs at several textile mills in the north of England because of his demands for expensive facilities and his obsession with inventing an everlasting fibre. While working as a labourer at the Birnley Mills, he accidentally becomes an unpaid researcher and invents an incredibly strong fibre which repels dirt and never wears out. From this fabric, a suit is made—which is brilliant white because it cannot absorb dye and slightly luminous because it includes radioactive elements. Stratton is lauded as a genius until both management and the trade unions realise the consequence of his invention; once consumers have purchased enough cloth, demand will drop precipitously and put the textile industry out of business. The managers try to trick and bribe Stratton into signing away the rights to his invention but he refuses. Managers and workers each try to shut him away, but he escapes.
There are incredible echoes of the Sidney Stratton character with the story of Dr. Wright: an eccentric genius grinding his way through commercial drudgery while secretly obsessing over his seemingly fantastic research (involving long chain molecules), which will be a boon to humanity, only to be outed and reviled by a self-serving cast of characters unaccepting of his deeply inconvenient (for them) invention. As big business colludes to force the irascible genius Sidney Stratton to sign-over his intellectual property—for the sole purposing of suppressing it—he escapes!
Where the similarity stops, though, is where Sidney Stratton’s white suit ultimately crumbles to dust because the underlying chemical structure is unstable; the Bitcoin system goes from strength to strength. Or at least it does on its original, restored protocol; the denatured non-system of BTC Core will crumble to dust precisely because the underlying economic incentives are unstable.
The fictional parable of The Man in the White Suit brings us to the current COPA trial.
DO NOT MENTION OR DISCUSS the relative merits of the two major Bitcoin protocols
What became very clear during the first week of the COPA trial is that COPA’s playbook is very reminiscent of the fiction and (in terms of the specific trial strategy) very simple:
(1) seek to discredit Craig Wright
(2) try to further discredit Craig Wright
(3) DO NOT MENTION OR DISCUSS the relative merits of the two major Bitcoin protocols.
I repeat, do not mention or discuss the relative merits of the two major Bitcoin protocols. For this observer, at least, this has been the most revealing thing about the trial so far.
COPA must ‘prove’ (i.e., prove on the balance of probabilities) to the judge that Craig is not Satoshi [in contrast, for the BTC developers Craig must ‘prove’ that he is Satoshi].
However, obviously, COPA has no specific evidence with which they can ‘prove’ that Dr. Wright is not Satoshi; hence, the simple old-school mud-slinging strategy (aka FUD) is their sole objective: throw enough mud/FUD and hope enough sticks to persuade the one person who matters—the judge. Dr. Wright’s counter-strategy is to ‘prove’ via a proof-of-work (PoW) of a lifetime’s research and professional expertise. This necessarily includes his ongoing work on the Bitcoin SV (BSV) enterprise blockchain.
Undoubtedly, exceptionally talented legal professionals are undertaking the case. Jonathan Hough KC (King’s Counsel), the barrister whose skeleton case is outlined in court documents, clearly understands that his job is to discredit Dr. Wright—period. That is all he has got to work with. He does this using the opinions of people deemed ‘experts’ by the court. However, the appropriateness and depth of their expertise and qualifications are clearly a major cause of disagreement.
It was fascinating to watch the body language from the live feed from the court: while the KC has a (now well-noted on social media) propensity to chew through pens when he’s not getting the answer he wants, on the rare occasions he felt he had the upper hand he would remove his glasses, somewhat theatrically turn towards the judge, and with his eyeballs almost leaping from his head to hit the judge in the face, his demeanor portrayed unspoken words along the lines of “Do you see this? He’s mad!”
Dr. Wright, of course, knows this. When COPA’s KC asked askance <eyeballs punching judge> about his apparently “bizarre behaviour,” Dr. Wright responded with words to the effect of “I am bizarre. I am an inventor, m’lord. Inventors are bizarre.” Touché!
Dress up inconvenient facts as conspiratorial fantasy
It has, of course, been BTC Core boilerplate for a long time to portray Dr. Wright as a paranoid fantasist: a ‘cosplayer’ or ‘faketoshi.’ These absurd taglines of the BTC Core brand are as disingenuous as their objectively false and fraudulent “There is only one Bitcoin.” It is somewhat tragic that this toxic garbage has ended up driving the entire narrative of COPA’s case and is what the esteemed Hough KC must work with, to theatrical effect, in court.
It is not convenient for details to start coming out before the judge regarding the fact that Bitcoin (and Dr. Wright) are very much objectively the victims of concerted acts of corporate espionage (in the broader sense to include sabotage). With the near-universal de-listing of BSV as an asset across all the major digital currency exchanges, one does not need to wear a tin foil hat to recognize this simple fact (amongst many) as a conspiratorial act of corporate espionage.
BTC Core alone has almost $1 trillion worth of ‘brand value,’ which is predicated on maintaining specific acts of corporate espionage, as well as more generic (both coordinated and spontaneous) community acts of defamation and discrediting. The industries whose value relies on BTC Core being promoted as the sole Bitcoin have valuations going into hundreds of billions. This should be obvious enough to any reasonable person to not need explanation, but unfortunately, it still does for many who do not understand, largely because the sabotage involves (if only through ignorance) the majority of the world’s media, exemplified by recent reporting of the trial.
The judge in the trial, Lord Justice Mellor, is obviously very astute. He presumably understands what is unfolding before him and is no doubt familiar that many barristers that come before him will be fighting a poor case and will use technical court procedures and all their learnèd wile simply to discredit the opposition while trying to avoid addressing the issues which are ultimately relevant for discovering truth. It is, after all, the work of a good barrister to win their case, regardless of truth or the wider benefit to humanity.
Seek to exclude common sense
The judge has a background in engineering and intellectual property law, but it is not clear quite how familiar he is with the background and history of the competing protocols of Bitcoin. Sadly, if he follows the corporate or social media, the chances are he is profoundly misinformed on this issue. Dr. Wright’s side has filed evidence in this regard and admitted to the trial, but clearly, COPA’s strategy is to keep it to a bare minimum and seek to strike it out as irrelevant. In addition, ‘hearsay evidence’ is frowned upon in reaching decisions.
The skeleton argument filed by COPA’s solicitors[i] refers to Craig’s expert witness on Bitcoin, Zeming Gao. In the section misleadingly titled “Cryptocurrency Experts” [it’s not clear whether the COPA lawyers genuinely simply do not even understand Bitcoin, or if they are deliberately misrepresenting any knowledge they have], they argue in Paragraph 131:
Most of the report of Mr. Gao addresses the first topic [“basic facts of the technology”], and in that section, he strays far from his proper remit. Rather than simply addressing the basic facts of the technology, he pursues an argument that BSV, the digital currency created by a hard fork in the Bitcoin blockchain, is superior to Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash and better reflects the philosophy underlying the white paper. Following the PTR [Pre-Trial Review] order, Dr. Wright is not permitted to rely on these parts of Mr. Gao’s report, which deal with his assertion that BSV is the superior implementation of Bitcoin and/or the alleged fidelity of BSV to the suggested intentions of Satoshi. [emphasis added]
<Mind-blown emoticon> It really is no wonder that COPA and the BTC Core developers do not want to mention or discuss the relative merits of the two major Bitcoin protocols. This two-pronged strategy: discredit Dr. Wright and distract from/ignore and SEEK TO LEGALLY EXCLUDE the substantive issues of truth discovery must be destined to fail.
Any reasonable person (for example, one not conflicted by interest in promoting BTC Core) must see that the relative merit of the competing protocols is critical to understanding the issue at trial. This is common sense. It is a principle in U.K. law that the law itself must be seen to operate with common…
Read More:Craig Wright: ‘The Man in the White Suit’?