nChain, the global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies, made an announcement that they have received a patent from the European Patent Office for a Deterministic Key Generation technique. This announcement was refuted by Vitalik Buterin, who took this using his twitter handle seeking to challenge its validity in court.
Patent and its controversies
nChain’s, who is often represented by Craig Wright as a spokesperson who also happens to be their CTO, received its second patent from the European Patent office which was numbered 3268914, entitled “Determining a common secret for the secure exchange of information and hierarchical deterministic cryptographic keys.”
The patent lists nChain CTO Dr Craig Wright as co-inventor. Shortly after the announcement was made, Vitalik Buterin responded saying:
Vitalik also is wanting the patent to be challenged in court.
Another leading name from crypto industry, Amaury Sechet(@deadalnix), who helps head up the Bitcoin Cash dev group Bitcoin ABC, conveyed warning on Twitter just hours after the patent’s successful granting was announced. He pointed out that users would need nChain’s permission to “derive your private key,” i.e. users would be relying on a permission system.
nChain, Craig Wright and controversies
This is not the first time nChain or Craig Wright have surrounded themselves in controversies nor it was the first time Vitalik was found in a tussle with Craig Wright. In April 2018, at the Deconomy conference held in South Korea, Vitalik Buterin had referred to Wright, who was on stage as part of a panel, a ‘fraud’ in front of a huge crowd. This was after Wright’s presentation, which talked about the shortcomings of the Lightning Network.
Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, and businessman came into the limelight with his claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto in a blog post published in May 2016. Wright’s claims were followed by a massive media push by news organizations like the BBC, Economist, and GQ. However, a majority of the cryptographic community did not take the claims seriously as the technicality of the proofs put forth by Wright was not convincing enough. Many experts even branded them as nearly nonsensical.
In late February, he was sued for Bitcoins worth billions by the estate of the late IT security expert Dave Kleiman. The allegations concern the ownership of between 550,000 and 1.1 million bitcoins, as well as the intellectual property rights of various blockchain technologies.
Although the European Office of Patents would have considered all possible innovations before granting the patent, still the image that nChain and Craig Wright carry, you never know what the truth is. Especially when the claims of falsehood come from the greats in the industry.
Will this fight go to the courts? Will the patent be challenged? Do let us know your views on the same.