The podcaster accused of defamation in the controversy over the identity of the inventor of bitcoin has denied destroying evidence in order to minimize the influence of his Twitter feed.
UK-based Australian computer scientist and businessman Dr Craig Wright is suing Peter McCormack over tweets and comments in a YouTube video challenging Wright’s claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the seminal white paper on the bitcoins. Wright’s claim is being challenged on the grounds that the offending remarks did not cause “serious harm” as required by the Libel Act 2013.
On the second day of the trial, McCormack was cross-examined on the influence of his tweets and video appearance in 2019. For Wright, Adam Wolanski QC challenged McCormack’s explanation of why certain “analytical” data on the disputed tweets were not available.
McCormack denied installing tweet deletion software following the lawsuit and told the court he was unaware the data would be deleted along with the tweets.
Wolanski asked, “The truth is, you deliberately sought to destroy the scans, didn’t you?”
‘Nope. I understand why you think that, but it’s not true.
McCormack also disputed estimates of the impact of his tweets, based on their likes and retweets, citing recent findings that 25% of Twitter users are “bots”. He also said he couldn’t say if his 3% “engagement rate” was exceptionally high.
Refuting claims that his Twitter feed is taken seriously in the cryptocurrency world, he said his posts were mostly satirical. “I regularly laugh at Tottenham Hotspur. I’m known as someone not to be taken seriously.”
Wolanski also took issue with McCormack’s claim that he was a journalist of “limited financial means”, noting that he bragged about ordering a $200,000 car. This was paid for with a loan which cost him £1,000 a month, McCormack said.
“More recently you bought a football club,” Wolanski continued. “A journalist with limited means?
It was a reference to Bedford FC, a club whose games attract “around 20 people”, retorted McCormack. “I paid nothing…no financial attraction was involved.”
McCormack also insisted he was unaware that one of the allegedly defamatory posts – an online interview with podcaster Hotep Jesus – would be published indefinitely on YouTube rather than as a single podcast.
The hearing should end today.