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This Bitcoin OG May Come Back To Development After Craig Wright Court Loss

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Wladimir van der Laan – the former lead maintainer of Bitcoin Core – is mulling a comeback to Bitcoin development after the high-profile industry lawsuit, COPA v. Wright, came to a close earlier this month.

In a blog post last Friday, the Bitcoin pioneer expressed relief and disbelief over the prosecutors’ victory, which saw London high court judge Edward James Mellor declare that self-styled Bitcoin creator Craig S. Wright is not, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto, nor the author of Bitcoin’s whitepaper.

Freedom From Craig Wright’s Pressure

In agreement with the ruling, van der Laan asserted that Wright is an outright fraud and “awful person” who used his fake identity to harass others and destroy lives. Wright’s absence, he said, could make Bitcoin development a less stressful affair.

“Now that this is over, I might become more active in bitcoin development again. No promises though,” van der Laan wrote.

“The last few years have been difficult for me, for this reason and others,” he continued. “But it absolutely helps to have this out of the way.”

Over several years, Wright used his influence to launch numerous lawsuits against anyone who challenged his claim to Bitcoin’s invention. That included defamation suits against high-profile internet personalities who labeled him a fraud, and cases against Bitcoin developers accusing them of violating his so-called intellectual property.

Such actions prompted a lawsuit from the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), whose aim was to settle Wright’s claims as fraudulent and prevent him from harassing other developers in the future. COPA is backed by several prominent crypto firms including Coinbase, Block, and MicroStrategy.

Van der Laan said the court’s ruling was a win for both Bitcoin and open-source development at large.

“It’s good to remind copyright trolls that even if they have enormous financial backing and the willingness to forge pile after pile of documents, they will lose,” he added.

Who is Wladimir van der Laan?

Wladimir van der Laan was Bitcoin’s longest-standing lead maintainer – the developer who would cryptographically sign all new Bitcoin software releases to verify their authenticity. He is also one of the most prolific contributors to the Bitcoin code of all time, responsible for over 1800 commits as of late 2022.

Van der Laan’s “reign” as lead maintainer began in April 2014 and ended in September 2021, after which Bitcoin Core adopted a more decentralized model of multiple maintainers.

He is known for leading Bitcoin through tumultuous and controversial periods in its development journey, including the so-called “blocksize wars” that culminated in the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Bitcoin hard fork.

“Wladimir’s judgment and adherence to the principles of open source, decentralized software development were widely recognized as being spot-on,” said Cory Klippsten, CEO of Swan Bitcoin, in a message to CryptoPotato.

“Bitcoin went through several critical milestones during that period and we are all very fortunate to have had him there through those events,” he added.

The lead maintainer who preceded van der Laan, Gavin Andresen, had his administrator access to Bitcoin’s code revoked by the former after he advocated for larger Bitcoin blocks during the heat of the debate. Andresen is also known for once supporting Craig Wright, though he later revoked that support.

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