With the legal battles involving Craig Wright now resolved, Bitcoin’s previous lead maintainer, Wladimir van der Laan, feels more at ease about potentially returning to Bitcoin development.

After the conclusion of the notable court case, COPA v. Wright, earlier this month, Wladimir van der Laan – Bitcoin Core’s erstwhile lead developer – is contemplating a return to Bitcoin development. Van der Laan shared in a blog post last Friday his sense of relief and incredulity at the court’s decision, which saw Judge Edward James Mellor of the London high court rejecting Craig S. Wright’s claims of being the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, and the author of its white paper.

Liberation from Legal Harassment by Craig Wright

Van der Laan celebrated the verdict, denouncing Wright as a fraud and “terrible person” who exploited his counterfeit persona to intimidate and wreak havoc on individuals’ lives. He suggested that Wright’s departure might render Bitcoin development endeavors more tranquil.

“With this episode behind us, I may step up my involvement in bitcoin development once again. But I’m not making any guarantees,” van der Laan remarked.

He acknowledged the past few years had been challenging, partly due to Wright’s actions. “Having this issue resolved is certainly a relief,” he added.

Craig Wright had previously initiated numerous legal actions against those disputing his claim to being the inventor of Bitcoin, including defamation lawsuits against notable figures who accused him of being an impostor and legal claims against Bitcoin developers for allegedly infringing his purported intellectual property rights.

These maneuvers led to a lawsuit by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), aimed at discrediting Wright’s claims and safeguarding developers from his litigious behavior. COPA has received support from key crypto organizations like Coinbase, Block, and MicroStrategy.

Van der Laan hailed the judgment as a victory for Bitcoin and the broader field of open-source development.

“It’s an important reminder for copyright trolls that, despite having substantial funds and a propensity to fabricate documents, they will not prevail,” he stated.

Introducing Wladimir van der Laan

Serving as Bitcoin’s lead maintainer for the longest tenure, Wladimir van der Laan was responsible for cryptographically signing off on new releases of Bitcoin software, ensuring their integrity. He stands as one of Bitcoin’s most significant contributors, with over 1800 commits to its codebase by the end of 2022.

Assuming the role of lead maintainer in April 2014, van der Laan stepped down in September 2021, moving Bitcoin Core towards a model with several maintainers for better decentralization.

He guided Bitcoin through its challenging phases, including the contentious “blocksize wars,” which ultimately led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) through a hard fork.

Cory Klippsten, CEO of Swan Bitcoin, praised van der Laan’s leadership, highlighting his commitment to the principles of open-source, decentralized software development during Bitcoin’s pivotal moments.

Van der Laan’s predecessor, Gavin Andresen, saw his administrative privileges to Bitcoin’s codebase revoked by van der Laan amidst the block size debate. Andresen had initially endorsed Craig Wright’s claim to being Satoshi Nakamoto but later withdrew his support.

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