UK Court Freezes Craig Wright's Assets

UK Court Freezes Craig Wright's Assets

Hiroshi Takahashi
3 min read

UK High Court Issues Worldwide Freezing Order Against Craig Wright

The UK High Court has issued a Worldwide Freezing Order (WFO) against Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, preventing him from moving his assets until he pays £1.548 million ($1.9 million) in legal fees to crypto podcast host Peter McCormack. The legal battle started in 2022 when Wright, who claims to be the founder of Bitcoin, sued McCormack for defamation over social media posts and YouTube videos alleging Wright was fraudulently claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. Although a court recognized that McCormack’s statements harmed Wright’s reputation, Wright was awarded only £1 in nominal damages due to his dishonest conduct, including presenting false evidence. The High Court noted that the defamation case was part of Wright’s broader campaign to silence critics and potentially gain access to Bitcoin worth billions. The judge ruled that the defamation case should never have been pursued and ordered Wright to pay McCormack's legal fees. The WFO was granted due to Wright's history of defaulting on payment orders and the risk of asset dissipation. This marks another significant win for the crypto community against Wright, who has consistently pursued legal actions against those who dispute his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

Key Takeaways

  • UK High Court issues Worldwide Freezing Order against Craig Wright.
  • Wright must pay £1.548 million in legal fees to Peter McCormack.
  • Wright sued McCormack for defamation in 2022, claiming fraud.
  • Court awarded Wright only £1 in damages due to dishonest conduct.
  • Judge ruled the defamation case was part of a broader campaign to silence critics.


Craig Wright's legal setbacks exacerbate his financial woes and reputational damage, impacting his credibility in the crypto space. The WFO restricts his asset mobility, complicating potential future legal battles and business ventures. McCormack's victory bolsters the crypto community's stance against Wright's claims, influencing public perception and potentially deterring similar litigation. The UK court's decision underscores the scrutiny of legal ethics in high-stakes tech disputes, setting a precedent for future cases involving digital asset claims and defamation. Short-term, Wright faces immediate liquidity issues; long-term, his influence in crypto may wane as trust erodes.

Did You Know?

  • Worldwide Freezing Order (WFO):
  • A Worldwide Freezing Order is a legal injunction issued by a court that prevents an individual or entity from removing assets from the jurisdiction of the court or from dealing with their assets in any way. It is typically used in cases where there is a risk that the defendant might dissipate or hide their assets to avoid paying a judgment or settlement. In this case, the UK High Court issued a WFO against Craig Wright to ensure he cannot move his assets until he pays the legal fees owed to Peter McCormack, due to Wright's history of defaulting on payment orders.
  • Satoshi Nakamoto:
  • Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonymous individual or group of people who developed Bitcoin, authored the Bitcoin white paper, and created and deployed Bitcoin's original reference implementation. As part of the implementation, they also devised the first blockchain database. Nakamoto was active in the development of bitcoin up until December 2010. Many people have claimed or have been claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, but their identity remains unknown. Craig Wright has publicly claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, a claim that has been widely disputed within the crypto community.
  • Nominal Damages:
  • Nominal damages are a small token sum awarded to a plaintiff in a civil action where actual damages are either non-existent or very difficult to prove. They serve to vindicate the plaintiff's right or honor, rather than to compensate for any loss or injury. In this case, despite the court recognizing that Peter McCormack's statements harmed Craig Wright's reputation, Wright was awarded only £1 in nominal damages. This was due to Wright's dishonest conduct during the trial, including presenting false evidence, which the court deemed to outweigh the harm to his reputation.

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