Self-proclaimed Satoshi, Craig Wright claims that government agencies may be able to seize Bitcoins through court orders. According to Wright, miners can and will be compelled by courts to cooperate with authorities to seize bitcoins.
Wright’s controversial claims
The outspoken Australian is no stranger to controversy since he first claimed to the bitcoin creator. His recent remarks were made public when Bitcoin podcaster Peter McComark posted screenshots of the claims on Twitter.
The claims indicate that Wright genuinely believes that the court can use miners to confiscate bitcoins without necessary using private keys. He also states that the courts can order code batches to facilitate bitcoin seizures.
Wright doubled down on his claims stating that he wants people that lost their bitcoins through crypto exchanges hacks to get their money back. He claimed that he can help victims of hacks on Quadriga and Mt Gox among other to recover as bitcoin can be easily confiscated.
Wright faces criticism for his claims
Despite being known for his controversial statements, the recent claims by Wright sound extremely outrageous even by his own standards. Unsurprisingly, they have sparked a heated debate on Twitter with bitcoin enthusiasts lashing out at him. Some even wondered where he gets the audacity to claim he is the bitcoin inventor when he even does not understand the basics of the cryptocurrency.
Some popular crypto figures also joined in on the criticism. In the wake of the recent statements, Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, who has previously claimed that Wright is a fraud had this to say
He claims to be the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a lie. He hurts the credibility of Bitcoin and is a disgrace to our entire industry.
Actor and pop culture icon William Shatner also criticised Wright following the claims saying
Ask yourself why would someone claim to be Satoshi and offer zero proof? Either put up or shut up, right?
No, bitcoin is not easy to confiscate
One of bitcoin’s most desirable attributes is that there is no foolproof way to confiscate it as the ledger is decentralized, hosted on multiple computers spread all over the world. The lack of a central server means there is no way to seize the blockchain. Additionally there is no possibility to extract private keys or seed phrases attached to specific addresses as they are cryptographically generated.
The only instances where authorities were able to confiscate bitcoins is where suspects and accused persons voluntarily surrendered their coins in exchange for lighter sentences. Bitcoin is hardcoded with the code being its law. This makes it technically impossible to confiscate the cryptocurrency.
The only way it can be done is by reorganizing the entire blockchain and that requires one to have control over a large proportion of the network’s hash rate. Currently, a small number of miners control a huge proportion of bitcoin’s hash rate.
However, it is extremely doubtful that they would comply with court orders from a specific jurisdiction as their mining firms spread out across multiple countries. Also, it is highly improbable that they would be willing to comply with court orders whose effects could permanently alter the very nature of the Bitcoin blockchain.