Cryptocurrency aficionados from around the world have gathered in Las Vegas this week for the CoinAgenda conference. They listened to LydianCoin co-founder Gurbaksh Chahal, who was convicted of domestic abuse by a California court, participate in a panel on stage. Surveillance camera footage reportedly once showed Chahal kicking his girlfriend 117 times and smothering her face with a pillow as he told her: “I’m going to kill you.”  

This wasn’t Chahal’s only offense. TechCrunch reported Chahal attacked another woman, while he was still on probation in 2014. A former executive at Chahal’s tech company Gravity4, Erika Alonso, sued the Silicon Valley mogul in 2015 for alleged gender discrimination. According to the Daily Beast, a new lawsuit touting even more examples of discrimination and abusive behavior was recently filed in June 2017.

Several high-tech professionals and bitcoin veterans were outraged by the summit’s choice of speaker. He was originally listed as a keynote speaker, but CoinAgenda founder Michael Terpin clarified on Twitter that Chahal merely participated in a panel. Regardless, some professionals tweeted about refusing to particpate in events that honor such men.

Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark tweeted she personally knew at least one person spoke to the conference organizer’s about the speaker’s history before the event. This speaker choice wasn’t the only controversial decision. Out of around 69 speakers, there were fewer than 10 people of color and just 7 women.

These groups are often underrepresented at blockchain industry events. For example, the Token Summit in New York earlier this year featured just four women out of 44 speakers. However, many cryptocurrency experts felt Chahal’s widespread reputation for a pattern of violence against women added insult to injury.

There are countless people working tirelessly to create a cryptocurrency ecosystem where people of all genders and sexual orientations feel welcome. However, women involved with blockchain projects still routinely face harassment and discrimination from online communities to professional  gatherings. Some conferences, such as the North American Bitcoin Conference, have addressed this issue by publishing explicit anti-harassment policies for their events.

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Many people who experience harassment or sexual violence in the workplace are reluctant to speak out because they fear retaliation and professional exile, especially in tight-knit communities such as the blockchain industry. A 2016 government report by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said 75 percent of surveyed sexual harassment victims faced retaliation after they spoke up.

It goes without saying, events that celebrate abusive men often fail to create an inclusive environment where people feel comfortable reporting any potential issues. Terpin defended the choice by saying Chahal is a businessman who spoke on stage about his business.