The Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund (BLDF), a non-profit organization that was co-founded by the CEO of Block (formerly Square), Jack Dorsey, made an announcement on Wednesday that it will be providing financial support for the legal defense of a number of Bitcoin Core developers who have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Craig Wright and the company that he works for Tulip Trading.
“The Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund has stepped up to fight for more than just Bitcoin—we are here to defend the right to build free, open-source software without fear,” Jessica Jonas, Chief Legal Officer of the Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund, told Decrypt. “We are here to defend the right to build free, open-source software without fear.”
The news was made on the same day that the developers of Bitcoin Core submitted their substantive defense before a court in the United Kingdom.
According to Jonas, the case, titled “Tulip Trading Limited v. Bitcoin Association For BSV & Others,” was filed because of an alleged attack that occurred in the year 2020 and led to the loss of 111,000 Bitcoin that Wright claimed to own.
Jonas believes that the Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund is supporting 13 Bitcoin developers in two different actions filed by Wright or his related companies and is calling the cases attacks on fundamental values of freedom. BLDF has called the charges baseless, but Jonas says that the Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund is backing the proceedings.
Jonas added, “We need to take them seriously and defend them with fervour because the potential stakes are too high to ignore.” “We need to take them seriously and defend them with fervour.”
According to Jonas, the central question in this litigation is whether or not Bitcoin developers owe users of Bitcoin a fiduciary duty.
“Wright is arguing that they owe a fiduciary duty, and as such, they should be obligated to create a ‘backdoor’ to allow him to access coins he claims to have lost,” she said. She added that doing so would compromise Bitcoin’s core feature as a fully distributed open-source software since, by design, no individual or group can retroactively alter the blockchain. “Wright is arguing that they owe a fiduciary duty,” she said.
The group’s goal is to galvanise public opposition to both this and any future legal challenges brought by Wright.
“By rallying the public and demonstrating widespread support for the defendants, we hope to show Wright and his team that their legal tactics will not go unchallenged,” Jonas added. “We aim to show that their legal tactics will not go unchallenged.”
Since 2016, the controversial Australian computer scientist has filed multiple lawsuits, including accusations of copyright infringement against websites that distribute the Bitcoin whitepaper. This comes after he claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin, also known as Satoshi Nakamoto. It was revealed earlier this month that a copy of the Bitcoin whitepaper had been secretly stored on Apple’s computers since at least 2018. This led Wright to speculate that Apple may be in violation of copyright laws, which he did earlier this month.
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