Profane, outspoken, eccentric, controversial – John McAfee is all of these things and more. The septuagenarian creator of the eponymous antivirus software, McAfee is one of the most influential and outrageous figures in the crypto space, a millionaire maverick who openly despises the current financial system and says cryptocurrency is the answer. Once dubbed a “paranoid lawless tech tycoon” by The Atlantic, the cybersecurity pioneer’s tornadic life makes for interesting reading. Here’s a rundown of his craziest moments to date.
Successive U.S. Presidential Bids
Many were surprised when McAfee – a self-professed “lover of women, drugs and adventure” – announced that he would enter the 2016 presidential race. The same people were probably just as incredulous when Trump launched his campaign. Hitting the stump touting a pro-privacy, pro-crypto message, McAfee proclaimed that American citizens had “given up so much for the illusion of security” and slammed the government as “simply dysfunctional.” Despite generating endless headlines, the bitcoin bull failed to secure the Libertarian Party candidacy, eventually losing out to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
You can’t keep a good man down. In June 2018, McAfee said he would run for POTUS again in 2020. “If asked again by the Libertarian Party, I will run with them. If not, I will create my own party,” he revealed on Twitter, adding that this would “best serve the crypto community by providing the ultimate campaign platform for us.”
Although he ended his campaign this March, McAfee indicated he wanted to run for Vice President to Libertarian candidate Vermin Supreme. “The President gets head in the Oval Office and suddenly there’s six months of chaos. Well, does anyone care if the Vice President gets head? No. No-one’s watching him. And because no-one’s watching him, he’s probably getting ten times as much.”
Surviving an Alleged Assassination Attempt
Soon after announcing his second presidential bid, McAfee tweeted “I apologize for my three day absence but I was unconscious for two days at the Vidant Medical Center in North Carolina and just woke up. My enemies managed to spike something that I ingested. However, I am more difficult to kill than anyone can possibly imagine. I am back.”
Later, McAfee added that he knew the identity of the would-be assassins, who would “soon understand the true meaning of wrath.”
That Bitcoin Bet
McAfee’s 2017 claim that bitcoin would hit $1 million by the end of 2020 provoked countless op-eds and news articles and became a ubiquitous meme. Because McAfee said he would eat his dick if wrong. And because he vocally doubled down on the prediction in the years since, even claiming BTC could reach $2 million in the same timeframe. Come January 2020, McAfee insisted the prediction had been “a ruse to onboard new users.”
The Belize Jungle Years
McAfee retired to Belize in 2008, intending to sail, fish and embrace the good life. Instead, our antihero created a dozen businesses including an antibiotics research lab and a ferry company. He was also outspoken about the government (whom he claimed were in hock to the drug and human trafficking trade), employed a badass gun-toting security detail and lived in a fortified jungle compound, Colonel Kurtz style. Eventually, McAfee had to flee to Guatemala after claiming the authorities tried to frame him for murder.
The “How to Uninstall McAfee Antivirus” Video
“How to Uninstall McAfee Antivirus” sounds like a low-quality YouTube tutorial featuring an overweight tech nerd. Instead, the 2013 vid featured drugs, guns, coke, strippers – and the software’s enigmatic creator perorating about McAfee user complaints. After lighting a cigarette with a flaming banknote, the tycoon smashed a line with a curly straw and sucked a hooker’s toes. As you do.
“Bitcoin Is Worthless”
Judging by recent remarks, McAfee’s love affair with bitcoin appears to have soured. When rowing back on his claim that BTC would hit $1 million in 2020, he called it an “ancient technology,” noting that newer blockchains had “privacy, smart contracts, distributed apps and more”. Then, a few weeks ago, he called bitcoin “worthless.”
It’s hard to know what to make of this one, especially as McAfee has criticized the Fed’s huge corona stimulus package. If bitcoin isn’t a hedge against such inflationary monetary policy, what is? We’re betting our favorite rebel is still on the BTC bandwagon.
The Joe Rogan Fallout
McAfee appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2014 but apparently won’t return anytime soon. “I’m afraid I offended him,” McAfee said last November. “It was not on the podcast that I offended him. It was in a Bangkok hotel and involved multiple parties of unclear gender and a Samoan bodyguard. I cannot say more. It is not my place to do so.”
The silent treatment didn’t last very long, as McAfee soon revealed more about that fateful night in Thailand’s capital, referencing Russian trannies, goats, a boa constrictor and albino twins from Romania. The absolute madman.
What will McAfee get up to next? Nobody knows – not even McAfee. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be dull.