The computer scientist who says he invented the Bitcoin digital cash system has denied fabricating examples of 'serious harm' caused by the publication of tweets and a web video attacking his claim to be the pseudonymous 'Satoshi Nakamoto'. Dr Craig Wright, an Australian academic and bitcoin entrepreneur resident in Britain, is suing blogger Peter McCormack over 14 tweets and a YouTube video dating from 2019. 

The words complained of include ’Craig Wright is a fucking liar, and he’s a fraud; and he’s a moron’. 

The High Court in London heard yesterday that the words caused sufficient damage in the jurisdiction to meet the ‘serious harm’ threshold set by the 2013 Defamation Act. Wright told the court that, as a result of the tweets, a patent worth $50bn or more 'was breached because people took what I was doing as a joke'. Repeated allegations about his probity also forced him to put on hold his application to become a magistrate, he said. 

McCormack is defending the action solely on the lack of 'serious harm'. Much of yesterday's hearing focused on witness statements by Wright listing 10 academic conferences to which he said invitatiions had been withdrawn as a result of McCormack's allegations. For McCormack, Catrin Evans QC accused Wright of fabricating some of the evidence.

On another rejection, which described a paper as having 'major weaknesses', Evans asked if Wright accepted that it was rejected on its merit. 'No, I think it was rejected because it was not understood,' he replied. 

Evans and Wright also clashed over his statement that he had received invitations through his connection with the Centre National des Arts et Métiers (Cnam) in Paris. Of the Cnam academic named in Wright's witness statements, Evans said: 'Do you accept that she has no recollection of meeting you?'

'She made a mistake,' Wright said. 

'She had no idea who you are, is that correct?'

'That's not correct,' Wright insisted. 

'It's very strange to make a case based on specific examples then to withdraw it when asked for details. These [examples] were made up, weren't they?' Evans said. 

Wright also vigorously denied that a Miami court had ruled that he had given dishonest evidence when a judgment found he had 'intentionally submitted false documents to the court'.

'No,' Wright replied. He told the court he had no objection to anyone challenging his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto. 'But there's a big difference between actually calling me a fraud or "fake Toshi".' He also described McCormack as 'a troll'.

McCormack, under cross-examination by Adam Wolanski QC, denied being an 'influential figure' in 2019. 'I would say I was a rising star,' he said. 

He was also questioned about his reply to Wright's letter before action. 'What did you mean by "hahah, hahah"?,' Wolanski asked. 'The entire letter was satirical,' McCormack said. He also explained that the expression 'jog on' was 'another way of telling someone to go away' and 'ROFLcopter' meant 'something so absurd it's hilarious'.

'On that note we will end for the day,' The Honourable Mr Justice Chamberlain said. 

The case continues.