What a crazy few weeks its been for crypto law. Earlier this month the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), known for enlisting heavy-handed regulatory measures, finally cleared the waters about initial coin offerings (ICO), releasing a guidance document, opening a “Crypto Specialist” job position, and publishing a no-action letter against a blockchain project.
Just recently, Harvard University’s $39 billion endowment revealed that it had invested in Blockstack, a project that is looking to launch the first token that abides by the SEC’s A+ framework.
But it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows on cryptocurrency’s legal front. In a series of moves, Australian cryptographer Craig Wright and his fellow promoters of Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV), threatened an array of key industry stakeholders who claim he is a “fraud” and “not Satoshi Nakamoto” with legal action. It hasn’t exactly been pretty.
Bitcoin SV Delisting Spree
As reported by Blockonomi over the past 72 hours, the conflict between Craig Wright, Calvin Ayre, and his camp and the rest of the cryptocurrency community has begun to climax. After the cryptographer enticed Ayre, a Canadian entrepreneur, to bombard Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, Lightning Network proponent Holdonaut, and podcaster Peter McCormack with letters demanding for an apology for “defamation,” the community responded harshly.
In a move that hit Wright and his crew where it hurts, Binance’s golden child, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, revealed that he vetoed through a delisting of BSV. Within minutes, the Bitcoin fork lost 10% of its value, after already falling by 5% in the week prior.
And quickly, Zhao’s peers in Erik Voorhees, the chief executive of ‘instant’ crypto exchange ShapeShift, and Blockchain.com founder Peter Smith followed suit, revealing that they would delist BSV on their respective platforms.
The damage had already been done, but 24 hours later, following some deliberation and an extensive Twitter poll, the San Francisco-based Kraken decided that it would remove support for the cryptocurrency, citing the fact that BSV’s team aren’t for “creating a better world.”
Wright Responds, As Does McAfee
But as luck would have it, Wright finally broke his silence after the delisting dominos fells, agreeing to have Bloomberg interview him on the matter of this whole showdown. According to the article in which the coder is called “crypto’s most-controversial man,” Wright remarked that he’s primarily looking to target “people who have a perceived authority” in the cryptosphere, adding that these potential suits will allow him to be judged by his credentials rather than his social media habits.
Drawing attention to his reasoning for taking such aggressive action, the Satoshi Nakamoto claimant remarked that people should “challenge the science, not personalities,” adding that the recent discourse about his claims has hampered debates regarding “ideas and concepts” about blockchain technologies.
In other words, Wright is remarking that these legal cases are more a holy war than anything, as it has “never been about making money” and is being done, in his eyes, for the betterment for protocols. In this conversation, Wright never asserted that he was Nakamoto, referring to the Bitcoin whitepaper with a “the” rather than a “my,” but the undertones that he is Satoshi was evident.
Just as Wright tacitly doubled-down, so has his critics. In a recent tweet storm, the eccentric John McAfee, a prominent crypto promoter and U.S. presidential candidate, claimed that Wright’s claims are “fake” and have “hurt us all.” McAfee, who garnered popularity in this ecosystem in late-2017 for his incessant promotion of a zany Bitcoin price prediction, added that Satoshi is, from what he understands, not the CIA, a governmental agency, or a single man/woman, but a “collection of people.”
The now-Bahamas-based industry commentator added that in the coming days, he will do his best to uncover the real face(s) behind Satoshi to prove that Wright doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Wow!! Im getting flack for forcing Satoshi into the open. Please see: the "not knowing" is allowing people to falsely claim the title. This wreaks havoc. For example: Craig Wright's fake claim to be Satoshi is fully responsible for the BSV scam which hurt us all.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) April 17, 2019
Interestingly, this isn’t the only ongoing crypto-related legal case going on as we write this.
Tone Vays, a Wall Street trader turned Bitcoin maximalist and analyst, recently revealed that he had been targeted by TokenPay, a Litecoin-affiliated blockchain startup that Vays has deemed a “scam,” with a cease and desist letter. Vays, like those targeted by Wright & Co., does not intend to bend to the will of the company.