Sunday, December 4, 2022

Are Craig Wright and Gambling Tycoon Trying to Cash in on Bitcoin Patents?

Are Craig Wright and Gambling Tycoon Trying to Cash in on Bitcoin Patents?

Craig Wright hasn’t been in the news much since his infamous and unverified claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto. However, according to a Reuters investigative report, he has remained very involved with both Bitcoin and the blockchain, after the end of his few weeks’ fame and the long hiatus that followed.

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Wright Joins Gambling Tycoon to Pursue Patents

Wright has stayed away from the public eye — pretty much disappearing all together after his fall from grace when he ultimately was unable to prove that he was, in fact, the mysterious creator behind Bitcoin. With the exception of a video released by GQ Magazine in August of last year, which showed him getting visibly upset at an interviewer, he has been pretty much MIA since the end of May last year.

Apparently though, he has been quietly going about his business since then, filing over 70 patent applications in Britain related to Bitcoin and the blockchain. He has done this with the help and participation of several others including Calvin Ayre, a Canadian online gambling mogul. This fact by itself could raise some eyebrows considering Ayre’s reputation as a rule bender who has even been charged of illegally operating online gambling activities in the US — earning his image as a “billionaire bad boy.”

Huge Number of Blockchain Patent Applications

The number of patent applications Wright has filed in the UK alone is more than the 63 blockchain-related patents filed globally last year by all organizations put together, according to Thomson Innovation. Additionally, he and his associates plan to file many more patent applications in the future. In fact, according to the Reuters report, bitcoin and patent experts say Wright’s patent activity is the single largest filing of Bitcoin-related intellectual property they’ve ever seen.

The technology that Wright is trying to make his intellectual property encompasses a wide selection of proposals. It includes a “computer-implemented method and system” and another application described as “Determining a common secret for two blockchain nodes for the secure exchange of information” — a general way to exchange encrypted information with the blockchain. Additionally, he also filed patents for ideas related to sports betting and a blockchain-based operating system for simple electronic devices.

Emails between Wright and an associate of Ayre’s show they planned to file upwards of 150 patent applications, with others even saying the number might be closer to 400. Out of the 70 that have been filed, none have been approved yet and it’s not certain how many of them, if any, will be granted at all.

Craig Wright’s Legacy: Patents Incompatible with Bitcoin

One thing is for certain, Wright’s reputation within the Bitcoin community has been damaged due to the Satoshi Nakamoto debacle — maybe for good. Furthermore, those close to Wright have been quoted saying that the patents they are pursuing could be sold for billions of dollars. This kind of talk will do nothing to repair his reputation among the Bitcoin faithful — if anything it will only serve to reinforce the common perception that Wright is self-serving.

Those interested in Bitcoin and the blockchain are typically not fond of things like intellectual property to begin with. In addition, they are skeptical of anyone who would desire proprietary ownership of anything to do with the movement. Bitcoin and many other crypto projects are open source, thus anyone is free to use their clients or modify its code. As such, intellectual property throws a wrench in this kind of thinking. It simply doesn’t seem compatible with the general vision of a P2P blockchain world.

Will Craig Wright’s patent applications have any impact on the Bitcoin and blockchain industries? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.


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