Hodlonaut Wins Landmark Bitcoin Lawsuit Against Craig S. Wright


Magnus Granath (aka Hodlonaut) wins the libel suit against Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, after a trial in Norway in September 2022.

Norwegian judge Helen Engebrigtsen ruled on October 20, 2022, that Hodlonaut had sufficient grounds to allege Wright lied when he said he was Satoshi Nakamoto.

Hodlonaut parties with his former lawyer

Consequently, she acquitted Granat. She order Wright to pay approximately $383,000 for Granath’s legal fees.

The judge’s decision comes much sooner than expected. After the seven-day trial that ended on September 21, 2022, she had set a tentative date for a judgment of November 8, 2022. Anyway, the full decision, 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 pro bono attorney in 2019.

According to Hodlonaut’s Twitter feed, the Case concerned tweets that Granath made in 2019. In the tweets, Hodlonaut alleged that Wright was a fraud. Subsequently, on March 29, 2019, Wright’s attorneys contacted Granath asking him to delete the tweets, apologize to Granath, and testify in court that Wright was 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 supporters began the #WeAreAllHodlonaut country.

After seeking legal advice, Granath did not comply. Instead, he deposit a trial against Wright on May 19, 2022 in Oslo, Norway. The lawsuit said Norwegian free speech laws protect tweets. Wright unsuccessfully tried to have Norway’s case thrown out. As a result, the case went to trial on September 12, 2022.

The Hodlonaut case was a battle for bitcoin

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

For example, Swiss hardware wallet maker Shift Crypto wrote in a blog post that it views the case as a legal attack on bitcoin. It’s later make a donation 10,000 to support Hodlonaut,

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

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

Meanwhile, Anita Posch, the founder of nonprofit Bitcoin For Fairness, also praised Hodlonaut:

Relay, a popular European bitcoin application, Talk about bitcoin community solidarity in a similar tweet, saying “we all won today”.

Happy Hodlonaut Donors

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

On August 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. As a result, he raises funds to defend members of the open-source bitcoin community from Bitcoin-related lawsuits.

River Financial make a donation $10,000 worth of BTC on August 22, 2022. This is a financial company that offers Bitcoin-based products to its customers. Later the CEO of River, Alexander Leishman, tweeted:

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

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

After Hodlonaut’s victory, Leishman congratulated him:

After the court verdict, the community had raised around 71 BTC ($1.4 million) in BTC. He raised $74,000 in fiat currency. Initially, he hoped to raise $2.1 million.

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