COPA vs CSW – Day 11 – Stefan Matthews

Executive Chairman and CEO of nChain Group, Stefan Matthews started his first day of cross-examination today. Stefan has been a key player in the Craig Wright saga, with deep involvement ever since Craig started claiming to be Satoshi. To this day, Stefan still maintains that Craig is Satoshi. In Court today Mr Matthews said:

I don’t have to lie about anything. I experienced with my own eyes, my own ears and my own personal interaction with Craig Wright through several years in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. I know what my experiences were and nothing can change that.

His testimony was long and our brief summary only includes the moments that stood out to us the most.

nChain UK

The first interesting exchange was about Matthew’s financial incentives and whether Mr Ayre had control of nChain Group in the UK. The following exchange occurred:

Q. Is Mr Ayre a person with significant control of the UK subsidiary of the nChain Group, the UK operating company?

A. Could you repeat that question, please?

Q. Sure. Is Mr Ayre a person with significant control of the UK operating company within the nChain Group?

A. No. Mr Ayre is a significant shareholder in the holding company.

However, the UK Companies house filings (above) were then put to Mr Matthews and he responded as follows:

A. No, it ’s under advice, when required to list a UBO, we were advised that we should list Mr Ayre because of his shareholding in a holding company.

Christen Ager Hanssen

One of the most tense moments was when the topic of Christen Ager Hanssen emerged. The COPA barrister, Mr Hough showed court the below WhatsApp messages between Christen Ager Hanssen and Stefan Matthews, provided by Christen Ager Hanssen.

Note: NCH refers to nChain holdings

The following painful exchange then followed:

Q. And the words added, ”That’s not fake”, bear the clear implication that Dr Wright was fake, don’t they?

A. Everything that was coming out of Ager Hanssen’s mouth was fake.

Q. This is not coming out of his mouth, Mr Matthews, this is coming out of your mouth.

A. Well, ”biggest fake ever” came out of his mouth.

Q. But you say, ”That’s not fake”, in relation to nChain, and the clear implication is you’re saying Dr Wright is, aren’t you?

A. No. Ager Hanssen is saying Craig Wright is fake.

Q. Adding those words, ”That’s not fake”, indicated agreement that he was a fake, didn’t it?

A. That was not my intention.

Q. Now, this message, as we’ve seen, did not just say, ”Christen, forget all this nonsense, focus on nChain”, did it ?

A. No, it didn’t.

Q. Your message indicated agreement with his view that Dr Wright was a fake, despite you now saying you strongly disagreed with that view.

A. I was putting a position to Ager Hanssen that would fit with his assertions so that we could move on.

Q. So you say now that you were trying to indicate agreement with his view that Dr Wright was a fake in order just to fob him off; is that what you’re saying?

A. No, I wasn’t agreeing with his view.

Q. You say that’s not what your messages indicated?

A. No, that was not my intent. It was a message between he and I and nobody else, and I wanted to move on.

The next moment we want to highlight was when a transcript was shown to the court of a discussion between Mr Ager Hanssen and Stefan Matthews. In the transcript, Mr Matthews stated:

Because we’re heading into a fucking train wreck on 15th of January.

At the time of the transcript, 15th January was the expected start date of this trial. The following exchange then occurred.

Q. Did you say those words to Mr Ager Hanssen, as far as you’re aware?

A. I may have. I don’t have specific recollection, but I may have.

As this response was not absolutely clear, a recording was then played to the court, when Mr Matthews could clearly be heard saying the above words. Mr Matthews was then questioned on this and responded as follows:

Q. Do you recall saying, ”We’re heading into a fucking train wreck on the 15th of January”?

A. It definitely sounds like my voice.

Q. Was 15 January the original start date for this trial?

A. I don’t know. I thought it was 5 February. No, you’re right . You’re right , yeah.

Q. That’s what you were referring to in that conversation by describing ”heading into a fucking train wreck on the 15th of January”, isn’t it ?

A. Well, you’ve got to remember that Ager Hanssen was in Spain at the time, and he spent two days telling me how uncooperative Craig was with the development of his strategy and plan. So, it didn’t look good, the way that they were presenting things to me

This is the point when we broke for lunch.

Mr Matthews Inadvertently Contradicting Wright

On several occasions, at least three which we counted, Mr Matthews appears to have inadvertently contradicted Wright’s testimony in this trial under cross-examination from the previous week. Other journalists and Bitcoiners in the court mentioned this happened up to five times, however we only detected this on three occasions. On some occasions Mr Matthews appeared to be somewhat confused as to why the COPA barrister Mr Hough was focusing on various issues, he did not appear to know that his testimony contradicted or undermined Mr Wright’s. Mr Matthews said at the start of his evidence that he had not watched the trial so far, therefore he may not have known that he was contradicting Mr Wright’s evidence.

April 2015 Meeting

The first example of this which we detected was when Mr Matthews was asked about a meeting held on 27 April 2015. Mr Matthews denied there was a discussion about buying Bitcoin at the meeting. Mr Matthews also appeared to have no idea that this contradicted Mr Wright’s account of the meeting from the previous week.

Mr Matthew’s cross-examination on 19th February 2024

Q.  Now, this is a meeting invitation from 27 April 2015, which appears to be referring to an ”investment”, do you think that a meeting could have taken place on that date about you and Mr Ayre investing in Dr Wright’s businesses?

A. It ’s possible , but the reality is that Mr Ayre did not invest in Craig’s businesses.

Q. But the discussion at that point, whether it was Mr Ayre or you and Mr MacGregor, was about investment in Dr Wright’s businesses, wasn’t it?

A. Yes.

Q. It wasn’t, for example, Bitcoin trading; it was investment in the actual businesses?

A. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It was, you know, analysing the business and whether there was a viable business opportunity to work with the technology.

Q. So if somebody were to say that the only purpose of this meeting and these discussions at the time was a sale and purchase of Bitcoin, you would disagree with that, wouldn’t you?

A. Sale and purchase of Bitcoin?

Q. Yes.

A. No, that’s not true.

Mr Wright’s cross examination on 13th February 2024

Q. Now, this appears to be a meeting invitation suggesting that a reasonably detailed investment meeting was planned for 27 April 2015 involving yourself and Mr Matthews; correct?

A. No, this was Stefan had put together one with Calvin Ayre, which was one of the first times I met him. The initial thing wasn’t investing in the companies, Rob ended up doing Rob was separate, and what was proposed was selling Bitcoin to him, but Calvin wasn’t interested at the time.

Q. If we look at the invitation, it ’s referred to as: ”Investment Pack.” Do you say the meeting wasn’t about investment?

A. Well, it was, but it was going to sell Bitcoin as well as then try and bring him into the company. So, Stefan was there, who brokered it, with Calvin Ayre.

Q. Do you see that there’s reference to a whole series of bullet points, including ”Research program”, ”Projects”, ATO documents, ”SuperComputers”, and so on, not just Bitcoin, right?

A. Well, all of this is Bitcoin related . The supercomputer was scaling testing , which has now led to

Q. Not just the sale of Bitcoin as a system?

A. As in selling Bitcoin alone, no. I wanted people also to invest in the company, but the initial talk was about selling Bitcoin. I wanted to make it more.

Q. So you say that in this initial meeting on 27 April 2015 you were upfront with them that you were Satoshi and you were going to be selling Bitcoin to them?

A. No, I didn’t mention that I was Satoshi at all . My selling Bitcoin had nothing to do with my identity. I didn’t tell Rob, at this stage, that I was Satoshi,I didn’t tell Calvin. That happened later. They basically 1 Q. So what do you say you were selling to them at this meeting?

A. Bitcoin. As in..

Q. As in Bitcoin assets?

A. Yeah. As in tokens.

Q. I see.

A. As in BTC. I wasn’t able to sell the quantity I needed on market, so I was going to do an OTC trade.

Q. So, at least we’re clear on that. Where, in the many bullet points of this document, does it refer to you selling Bitcoin tokens rather than participating in an investment discussion?

A. It doesn’t.

Tyche Employment

The second apparent contradiction we identified related to Mr Wright’s supposed employment at Tyche. Mr Matthews confidently asserted that Mr Wright was employed at Tyche. This was one of the best answers Mr Matthew’s gave in our view and he came across as calm and relaxed, compared to his other testimony. However, Mr Matthews did not appear to realise that this contradicted testimony from Mr Wright the previous week, where he denied working for Tyche. Mr Wright’s denial appeared to relate to Mr Wright denying that he had access to the email address.

Mr Matthew’s cross-examination on 19th February 2024

Q. Now, we see, at the top of this email, that Dr Wright was writing from an email address at Dr Wright was given a formal employment role at Tyche, wasn’t he?

A. Yes. I can give you the reasons for that.

Q. But certainly, when Dr Wright was employed by it, from October 2015, and his salary and package set up in the previous month, that was an entirely genuine employment relationship?

A. Yes, it was.

Mr Wright’s cross examination on 13th February 2024

Q. This is an email dated 25 November 2015, ostensibly from you, ””, to Mr MacGregor and others. Do you say that this is another non genuine email, something you didn’t write?

A. I didn’t write it, no. Tyche is a British company belonging to Rob that I never worked for.

Q. So all this content saying referring to the original White Paper being a good start and engaging with Mr MacGregor’s ideas, that’s all fake content, is it?

A. I’ve no idea what it is.

Q. Are you aware who supposedly created these non genuine documents, Dr Wright?

A. Probably someone at Tyche.

Q. Would you accept that if any of these emails is genuine, if the court concludes that any of them is genuine, then you were discussing all of these matters concerning Satoshi outing before the WIRED and Gizmodo outings; correct?

A. No, that would be like saying if I put down, I could send one as my Lord, but I can’t. It ’s not real, just because my name’s on it

Craig’s compromised emails

The third and final example we identified, where Mr Matthews appeared to inadvertently contradict Mr Wright’s testimony, related to emails Wright sent from the craig@ncrypt email address, which Mr Wright denied sending in early 2016. When Mr Matthews was asked if he had received emails that “didn’t seem to come from” Mr Wright, Mr Matthews appeared confused and he did not know what he was being asked. As far as we were concerned Mr Matthews appeared perplexed and he hesitated. Mr Matthews eventually stated that nothing struck him as odd with the emails, unknowingly undermining Wright’s evidence from the previous week.

Mr Matthew’s cross-examination on 19th February 2024

Q. As far as you can recall, this was a genuine exchange of emails?

A. As far as I can recall, yes.

Q. And we see that Dr Wright’s email address is shown as ”craig@ncrypt”; do you see that?

A. It is

Q. Now, we saw other emails from him, craig@ncrypt, in mid March 2016 earlier in your testimony; do you recall?

A. Yes.

Q. And we’ll and there are further emails from that address going right through to early May 2016. Do you recall receiving emails at the time from Dr Wright at this address?

A. No, I I wouldn’t I wouldn’t remember what email addresses I was receiving things from in 2016.

Q. That’s fair. Do you recall a time, any time in this period from mid March to early May 2016, when it struck you that an email you’d received from Dr Wright didn’t make sense, or didn’t seem to accord with his views, or didn’t seem to come from him?

A. I often, even today, receive emails that I would put in that classification .

Q. But specifically emails from Dr Wright around that time?

A. No, I I that’s an impossible question to answer.

Mr Wright’s cross examination on 14th February 2024

Q. We see, at the bottom of the page, an email that Monday, May 2, 2016, from Mr MacGregor to Mr Ayre and yourself, copied to Mr Matthews: ”The signature, the fundamental part of the entire story has fallen apart. This has to be corrected right now….” Do you recall receiving an email of that kind?

A. Not particularly. I don’t have a good recall of that period.

Q. Then Mr Ayre responds:”How could the signature fall apart?” Do you see that?

A. I do.

Q. And you reply:”The wrong copy was uploaded.” Don’t you?

A. Probably not. Around this time, nCrypt was run by the consulting company Tyche, so my email at nCrypt was actually taken over and I was excluded from it.

Q. Dr Wright, this is another email chain which you reviewed in the course of preparing your first witness statement. I ’m not going to go to it, but for the lawyers. So this is an email, among not very many, which you reviewed for the purpose of your first witness statement and you didn’t identify it there, did you, as a fake email which had been written by somebody who had taken over your account, did you, Dr Wright?

A. No, I have no need to. Again, I have noted that these all came from third party computers. In the disclosure platform, it notes it . It ’s very clear that it comes from a compromised staff computer in the disclosure platform

Stefan’s evidence will continue tomorrow moring and Stefan is Craig’s last witness.