Early bitcoin core developer Peter Todd is fighting for his reputation. Todd, a Canadian who started contributing to bitcoin’s code in 2012, revealed on Twitter that he has filed a lawsuit against someone in the community who allegedly accused him of rape and sexual assault, also on Twitter.
Todd vehemently denies the accusations. According to the defamation complaint, which was filed in a California federal court, he is seeking injunctive relief and damages from the defendant, a California resident whose pseudonym is Isis Agora Lovecruft. You can’t make this stuff up.
Todd has directed any questions to his attorneys Kronenberger Rosenfeld with the exception of saying:
“I hope Isis Lovecruft does the right thing here. If she does I hope the wider community acts in the spirit of forgiveness and healing, as will I.”
Widely cited crypto attorney Stephen Palley suggests that Todd may have his work cut out for him, tweeting:
“[It] is hard to get a court to enjoin speech, even defamatory speech; unlikely to happen at a prelim injunction hearing.”
Defendant: Anarchist, Hacker, and Theoretical Physicist
The complaint describes how Todd is a frequent speaker at crypto global conferences for his work in cryptography. Lovecruft, whose Twitter profile describes her as an “anarchist; hacker; once-upon-a-time theoretical physicist,” is a frequent attendee at cryptography events. The lawsuit describes the pair as “acquaintances,” saying they’ve “interacted on multiple occasions both at cryptography conferences and social events.”
Here’s the rub. In 2016, Lovecruft publicly accused someone else, a Jacob Applebaum, of sexual assault, Todd’s complaint alleges. Todd suggests that Lovecruft’s recent accusations against him are in retaliation for not publicly condemning Applebaum’s alleged behavior. That, the bitcoin developer says, is what led Lovecruft to “publish false statements about Todd on her Twitter profile accusing Todd of rape and sexual assault,” accusations that he says have been damaging.
Based on her public tweets involving the alleged incidents, the latest of which appear to be from February 2019, Lovecruft has been sexually abused by multiple men seemingly on various occasions. Yet for some reason, she continued to attend these allegedly dangerous conferences. If, in fact, she is the victim of sexual assault, Lovecruft appears to be trusting the court of public opinion over the authorities for justice. That is a strategy that has similarly played out in politics, e.g., Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers.
She then directs her firepower more directly at Todd in a tweet that identifies yet a third alleged offender, a Nadim Kobeissi:
Todd is looking to restore his good name, calling Lovecruft’s statements false and maintaining his innocence, saying he “never raped or sexually assaulted anyone.” Lovecruft’s tweets are still publicly visible on her Twitter feed. Todd would seemingly be content to have them removed so that what he says are false statements are no longer visible to Lovecruft’s more than 20,000 Twitter followers.
In this age of the #MeToo movement, even the slightest hint of impropriety or unwanted advances can be misinterpreted. On Wall Street, men have struggled with a culture of what they believe is “unreasonable political correctness,” which risks having the unintended consequence of creating more of a boy’s club than what already exists, Bloomberg reports. On Wall Street, the culture is to sweep sexual misconduct under the rug, unlike in Hollywood and politics where scandals have gripped the news headlines.
Crypto remains an emerging asset class but one that is not immune to harassment.
There was mostly support on Todd’s Twitter thread. Others accused Todd of misgendering Lovecruft:
A case management statement is due by June 26 and a case management conference is scheduled for July 3.