Peter Todd filed a defamation suit against Sarah Michelle Reichwein a.k.a Isis Lovecruft, after the former accused him of sexually harassing her. In support of her argument, Zooko Wilcox, founder of ZCash and the Electric Coin Company, testified as an acquaintance to both as well as the second complainant who claims Peter Todd raped her on a visit to Germany: Todd vehemently denies these claims, July 17, 2016.
Allegations and Rebuttal
This incident was first seen in a public forum when Lovecruft replied to a GitHub issue raised by Todd on code she had written, accusing him of standing up for someone (Jacob Appelbaum) who had raped her.
Until April 2019, when Todd filed a defamation suit, none of this was in the limelight, and after Zooko’s testimony, it has resurged over social media.
In his testimony, Zooko claims to have seen Todd’s advances towards a female friend of his, after which she told him she feels uncomfortable and to help her get away. After finding out that Todd supposedly spoke of Lovecruft, made unwanted sexual advances, and spoke of them in a demeaning manner to a group of friends.
Nearly a year later, Zooko claims to have learned from another female friend that Todd had raped her while she was mentally ill; her testimony is included in court records but her identity remains anonymous to the public.
Isis Lovecruft has also accused another of sexual abuse, Nadim Kobeissi, the author of Cryptocat.
The next hearing is set for August 22, 2019.
Diversity in Crypto
The lack of representation from females in the software and cryptography space has long been a topic of debate. While some believe it is because of the relatively lower number of women in the engineering talent pool, a lot of there believe it is a practice that arises out of malice.
People have tried to use blockchains to register things like consent, but that brings about a large number of issues – the biggest of which is the inability of a party to revoke consent after it is registered.
This is a wake-up call for the entire community to see that abuse does exist within the realm of software and network development. Whether Peter Todd is guilty or not is up to the court, but people must be more vigilant about such incidents.