Sexual Misconduct Allegations Arise Against Bitcoin Coder Peter Todd

The Takeaway:

  • Former Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd filed a defamation fit in April demanding the deletion of a tweet that accused him of sexual misconduct. In reaction, three persons submitted statements to the court this 7 days accusing Todd of these misconduct.
  • Just one alleged sufferer, “Jane Doe,” mentioned she stopped contributing to bitcoin projects in buy to stay away from Todd.
  • The incident is shaping up to be a initially-of-its-kind in the bitcoin local community, a general public incident that could power convention suppliers and projects to be more lively in responding to allegations of misconduct.
  • Quite a few conferences have acquired problems about Todd, citing these allegations of sexual misconduct.

Publicly filed court documents have now disclosed certain allegations of sexual misconduct involving previous Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd.

Todd sued transgender cryptographer Isis Agora Lovecruft for defamation in a California court in April, demanding they delete a tweet contacting Todd a “rapist.” This 7 days, Lovecruft moved to dismiss the criticism, and equally Lovecruft and zcash co-founder Zooko Wilcox filed declarations in court describing Todd’s alleged actions.

In their declaration, Lovecruft accused Todd of sexual harassment, such as unwelcome and violent sexual statements during consulting perform on a bitcoin undertaking. In accordance to Lovecruft’s filed declaration, Todd instructed Lovecruft in a San Francisco cafe, “I’m likely to shove my cock in you so tricky and defeat you until you beg for more.”

Lovecruft also mentioned in their court submitting that Todd grabbed their arm when his developments had been turned down. Lovecruft’s declaration also incorporated private Twitter messages with a third bash describing Todd’s undesirable sexual developments, as perfectly as private Signal messages from a girl who claimed Todd raped her, determined as Jane Doe.

Wilcox’s court declaration (a copy of which he also posted in a Medium web site article on Tuesday) in depth his encounters with Todd. (It should really be noted that Todd has been specifically outspoken in his criticism of the zcash undertaking, which Wilcox spearheads.) Courting back again to 2012, Todd is a single of the major 25 contributors to the Bitcoin Core code repository and continues to be an influential figure in the room.

In the court assertion, Wilcox claimed a single feminine friend questioned him for support staying away from Todd’s unwelcome developments, and another feminine friend described being “pressured into sex” by Todd. In accordance to their declaration, Lovecruft was referring to the second sufferer (called “Jane Doe” in the court filings) in the Feb. 20 tweet at concern in this situation.

Wilcox claimed in his court assertion that Jane Doe instructed him “Mr. Todd had pressured her into sex although she was in a mentally compromised state because of to a medical ailment.”

In an interview with CoinDesk, Jane Doe claimed the incident drove her to end participating in bitcoin projects.

“There are other areas of laptop science, I just do not want to see him ever yet again,” she claimed. “I just want him to depart me by yourself. And there is no way to know that for confident. I’m past stressing about the broader crypto local community. I just want to dwell my everyday living. … The only detail I could consider about in the times afterward is stressing that he’d speak to me or retaliate.”

CoinDesk has arrived at out to Todd’s lawful illustration and will update the write-up if we listen to back again. Todd’s criticism denies that he has raped or sexually assaulted Lovecruft “or any person else.”


CoinDesk has spoken with the two alleged victims pointed out by equally Wilcox and Lovecruft in their court filings. In the course of an interview with CoinDesk, Jane Doe described Todd’s alleged coercive sexual action in express detail which was dependable with the court filings.

Doe claimed there had been no third-bash witnesses to the alleged assault.

The incidents described by equally ladies took spot within just the bitcoin local community, at experienced occasions or in private conferences arranged to examine matters related to laptop science. Both ladies described their encounters as traumatic.

Doe expressed fears about Todd’s “power” to influence the broader crypto local community. Todd has extended been a single of the most lively contributors to the Bitcoin Core undertaking and was also involved in the launch of zcash in 2016.

In interviews with CoinDesk, the alleged victims claimed the incidents impacted their capacity to interact in general public message boards, equally on-line and in-human being, related to cryptocurrency growth.

The alleged sufferer referred to in Wilcox’s declaration as “my friend” instructed CoinDesk she was instructed by a possible business lover that persons had been reluctant to perform with her because they had been now “unsure about her character.” (She finally received a work doing the job with this business lover.)

Not by yourself

Lovecruft’s declaration describes a topic that is popular in allegations of workplace-related harassment or assault: Speaking up can direct to retaliation versus the accuser.

A report from the U.S. Equivalent Work Option Commission cited a 2003 research getting that 75 p.c of workers who spoke out versus mistreatment “faced some form of retaliation.”

CoinDesk interviewed various other folks who alleged they had been subjected to sexual assault or harassment, not involving Todd, in many contexts related to their perform in the blockchain field. They all instructed CoinDesk they did not talk out publicly because they feared ostracism from the local community.

Some who tried to talk up within just the team ended up possessing to depart the projects they had been contributing to.  Quite a few of the sources, such as a single of the alleged victims pointed out in the Todd court documents, instructed CoinDesk their private testimonies of misconduct had been both dismissed or led to retaliation.

Offered the open up-resource ethos of the bitcoin local community, alleged victims claimed, requests for support led nowhere because no a single was systematically dependable for these misconduct.

Todd has also faced backlash, but most likely in a milder form. An anonymous criticism was submitted to the MIT Bitcoin Expo in March for making it possible for Todd to talk, in accordance to a resource with awareness of the predicament. (Todd went on to talk at the MIT party.)

The resource also claimed Todd did not talk at the Monero Konferenco in June because of allegations of sexual misconduct.

Peter Todd image through CoinDesk archives