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Crypto Community Reacts to Hodlonaut Historic Win in Legal Battle Against Craig S. Wright

3 mins
Updated by Ali Martinez
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In Brief

  • The judge ruled that there was enough evidence for Hodlonaut to assume that Wright was lying about being Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Craig Wright ordered to pay Hodlonaut $383,000 in legal costs.
  • Hodlonaut celebrates his victory with a loyal band of bitcoin maximalists and supporters who helped fund his case.
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Magnus Granath (aka Hodlonaut) wins defamation case against Australian Computer Scientist Craig Wright, after a trial in Norway in Sep. 2022.

Norwegian Judge Helen Engebrigtsen ruled on Oct. 20, 2022, that Hodlonaut had enough grounds to allege that Wright lied that he was Satoshi Nakamoto.

Hodlonaut celebrates with former lawyer

Accordingly, she acquitted Granath. She ordered Wright to pay about $383,000 for Granath’s legal costs.

The judge’s ruling comes much earlier than expected. After the seven-day trial that ended on Sep. 21, 2022, she had set a tentative date for a judgment of Nov. 8, 2022. Regardless, the full ruling, translated from Norwegian, can be found here.

After Hodlonaut’s victory, attorney Preston Byrne said he was proud of Hodlonaut. According to Byrne, he was Granath’s counsel on a pro-bono basis in 2019.

According to Twitter thread by Hodlonaut, the case concerned tweets Granath made in 2019. In the tweets, Hodlonaut alleged that Wright was a fraud. Subsequently, on Mar. 29, 2019, Wright’s lawyers contacted Granath to ask that he remove the tweets, apologize to Granath, and testify in court that Wright was the pseudonymous bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto.

Then, on April 11, 2019, Wright offered a $5,000 bounty for Hodlonaut’s true identity. This offer resulted in a manhunt. 

After Wright’s offer, Hodlonaut’s supporters started the #WeAreAllHodlonaut campaign.

After seeking legal advice, Granath did not comply. Instead, he filed a lawsuit against Wright on May 19, 2022, in Oslo, Norway. The lawsuit said that Norwegian freedom of speech laws protected the tweets. Wright unsuccessfully tried to have the Norway case dismissed. Accordingly, the case went to trial on Sep. 12, 2022.

Hodlonaut’s case was a battle for bitcoin

Many people and companies on Twitter saw Granath’s case as a battle for Bitcoin.

For example, Swiss hardware wallet maker Shift Crypto, wrote in a blog post that it saw the case as a legal attack against bitcoin. It later donated 10,000 to support Hodlonaut,

Similarly, Amber, an Australian Bitcoin app that helps people accumulate and invest in bitcoin, voiced its support in a blog post.

After the verdict, Bitcoin hodler Derek Ross congratulated “ALL Bitcoiners.” Similarly, Jameson Lopp, CTO at Bitcoin custody specialist Casa, also tweeted:

At the same time, Anita Posch, the founder of the non-profit Bitcoin For Fairness, also congratulated Hodlonaut:

Relai, a popular European bitcoin app, talked about the solidarity of the bitcoin community in a similar tweet, saying that “we all won today.”

Hodlonaut donors happy

It was also a happy day for those who donated to Hodlonaut’s cause.

On Aug. 19, 2022 , Hodlonaut asked the bitcoin community for financial support. He raised funds through the OpenSats Legal Defense Fund. The fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Accordingly, it raises money to defend open-source bitcoin community members from Bitcoin-related lawsuits.

River Financial donated $10,000 worth of BTC on Aug. 22, 2022. It is a a financial company that offers Bitcoin-based products to its clients. Later, River’s CEO, Alexander Leishman, tweeted:

On the same day, operations security specialist and crypto-anarchist Robert Spigler donated $5,000. He was followed by John Zaprite, the founder of the Zaprite app, who donated 0.022BTC. On the same day, Hodlonaut also thanked an anonymous donor for donating 47 BTC.

A day later, The Bitcoin Collective, hosts of The U.K. Bitcoin Conference, said they would donate 50% of all ticket sales in the next 24 hours to Hodlonaut.

Following Hodlonaut’s victory, Leishman congratulated him:

After the court verdict, the community had raised around 71 BTC ($1.4 million) in BTC. It raised $74,000 in fiat currency. At the outset, it had hoped to raise $2.1 million.

For Be[In]Crypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...