Ether community struggles with coronavirus - EthCC case

David Kemp

As presented by public lists collected by attendees, Ethereum enthusiasts who took part in the EthCC conference, held in Paris throughout March’s first week since having positive tests for coronavirus.

No less than six hospitalized participants have used lists to inform the people so far. CoinDesk has not confirmed these lists, comprising genuine people’s names and symptoms, fully yet. “This natural and obedient radical lucidity may change behaviors and save lives,” tweeted list creator Justin Drake.

One unspecified 20-year-old EthCC participant who tested for COVID-19 positive, who may have contracted the virus at home from her partner who tested positive, said there few precautionary steps have been taken at the event in Paris. The nonprofit Ethereum France arranged the conference and carried out by ConsenSys volunteers and other cryptocurrency companies. 

 As she said, there were a few people with hand sanitizer and masks, but not enough. She added that most of the EthCC participants were young and thought the virus would not influence them. She told the reporters about her respiratory disease that it makes a person not able to breathe, like drowning. The attendee is surprised that EthCC wasn’t canceled and held virtually.”

Then after returning to the US, she was hospitalized for two days and remains ill. However, she is not listed on the credentials being circulated currently, implying the infection count from the conference is higher.

Min Teo, ConsenSys Labs investor tweeted that anybody who took part in the conference should self-quarantine regardless of symptoms. In addition, another anonymous event participant said he wished the Ethereum Foundation would take a more dynamic approach in forewarning event organizers.

This situation raises questions on leadership and responsibility across the ecosystem, said an anonymous EthCC attendee to CoinDesk.

The anonymous attendee says he believes there was accountability from the EF to warn the fans early not to get together at forthcoming gatherings since people were also infected at ETHDenver.

The lists may be a step forward for ceasing further spread of the disease. Co-director of USCF’s National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center Claire Brindis said such crowd-sourced lists could put people at greater risk in the future. 

Brindis highlighted that such lists could lead to danger to people due to xenophobia. She added this disclosure would lead to unexpected, negative consequences. Claire Brindis said she is worried about how people might use this information against others.

Ecosystem outbreak

 This outbreak raises questions about public leadership for some Ethereum fans.

An anonymous male attendee said he hopes the latest events will change the way these kinds of events are run. He believes that Ethereum leadership needs to be more aware of global issues happening.

The ConsenSys company issued a public announcement saying it is “well-positioned to weather this disorder and maintain business continuity” due to its remote-first company policy. Group tours and meetings are now becoming virtual, including the upcoming Ethereal event in New York scheduled in May.

Even though ConsenSys executives and Lubin are noticeably missing on public infection lists, some list members remain anonymous. According to attendees, Both Lubin and Vitalik Buterin Ethereum creator were at the event in Paris.

On Saturday, Buterin tweeted that he is in good physical condition and will inform the community if he notices any symptoms.