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John McAfee
John mcafee.jpg
Occupation Celebrity
Personal Twitter @officialmcafee
Website Personal Site

John McAfee is a British-American entrepreneur. He is the creator of the McAfee antivirus program and a member of the United States Libertarian Party, for which he ran as a self-nominated presidential candidate in 2018 for the U.S. 2020 elections.[1][2]


McAfee was born in 1946 in the United Kingdom. He moved to Roanoke, Virginia with his parents when he was young.[3] He attended Roanoke College and later Virginia Tech until he moved to Silicon Valley, California in 1970. He worked on numerous projects during this time, including an adult dating site that featured a database designed to certify whether its members were free of HIV infection. He is most well-known for having created the McAfee antivirus program.[4]


McAfee developed the cryptocurrency wallet Bitfi. He announced a public challenge, offering $250,000 to anybody who could successfully hack the coins out of a Bitfi wallet. He also offered a smaller $10,000 reward for a similar challenge: any hacker who could prove he had modified the Bitfi firmware, recovered the wallet user's private keys or secret phrase, and sent this information to a third party - all while maintaining the device's connection to the Bitfi Dashboard and maintaining the device's normal functionality - would win the prize. Multiple hackers succeeded in breaking into the wallet's root code; one of them was even able to install and play "Doom," a computer game by ID Software, on the device. A hacker named Andrew Tierney, AKA Cybergibbons, supposedly completed the challenge.[5][6][7][8]

McAfee announced over Twitter that neither the $250,000 reward nor the smaller $10,000 would be distributed to any of the hackers because no digital tokens were removed from the wallet as a result of the hack.[9]

McAfee challenged Jay Clayton, chairman of the SEC, to a public debate in 2018.[10]

In August 2018, McAfee joined blockchain startup Luxcore. The hire was allegedly part of a major "restructuring" of the company. McAfee said he planned to emphasize "strategic marketing" and "aggressive growth" in order to hit the company's new growth targets.[11] In May 2019, he and Luxcore decided mutually to part ways.[12]

In June 2019, McAfee launched a cryptocurrency trading platform called "Magic." The site claimed its users would be able to trade cryptocurrencies on multiple exchanges via a single, centralized dashboard. The exchanges supposedly supported include Binance, Kraken, Poloniex, Huobi, and Bittrex. The platform experienced a DDoDS attack before it launched, but according to a tweet by McAfee, the Amazon Web Service servers hosting the site were able to deflect the attack.[13]

In July 2019, McAfee sailed to Cuba in his personal yacht, violating U.S. sanctions against private water vessels sailing in Cuban waters. McAfee reportedly began talks with Cuban government officials, offering to help the communist nation's first national cryptocurrency, in order to circumvent economic sanctions placed on the country.[14][15]

Presidential campaign[edit]

John McAfee announced in 2018 that he intended to run for U.S. president in the 2020 U.S. election. In January 2019, he announced over Twitter that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had charged him with "criminal acts" against the government and that his presidential campaign would continue "in exile."[16] Days later, he announced over Twitter that he had fled American shores on a boat, and that he had dropped anchor in a "third world country." Travelling with him are several of his associates, as well as approximately twenty firearms, including assault weapons. As well as sharing these details, McAfee also said in a video he posted to Twitter that he had not paid taxes in over eight years, and that he had not hidden this fact to anyone, including the IRS. In addition to stating his intent not to file taxes, he told the IRS, "Come and find me."[17]

In April 2019, McAfee said in a Twitter post that he had found the identity and location of Satoshi Nakamoto - the mysterious creator of bitcoin whose true identity has never been confirmed. According to McAfee, Nakamoto is a single person, male, and lives in the United States. McAfee said that he had not only found Nakamoto, but spoke to him, and that he is "not a happy camper" about McAfee's attempts to find him. McAfee said that his efforts were motivated by lawsuits filed by Craig Wright against a podcaster who questioned the truth of his claim that he is the true Satoshi. McAfee said that the person he "tracked down" and spoke to was not Craig Wright, and that McAfee would not disclose the true identity of Nakamoto yet, because it might affect his attempts to contest his extradition to the United States.[18]

In May 2019, a tweet was published from John McAfee's Twitter account saying that McAfee had to "go dark" due to "developing events," and that his Twitter account would be handled by staff of his "until further notice."[19]

In July 2019, McAfee announced that his campaign base had moved from the Bahamas, from whence he had begun to suspect the U.S. government was preparing to extradite him, to Cuba. After this move, he offered to help the Cuban government launch a national cryptocurrency in order to help circumvent sanctions that the U.S. had put on the country.[20][21]

Legal problems[edit]


McAfee was arrested in Spain on October 5, 2020 on five counts of tax evasion and five counts of failure to file a tax return. The criminal charges were brought by the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. They were filed earlier that year on June 15 and sealed pending arrest.[22] The case was filed in the Western District of Tennessee.[23]

The same day, the SEC charged McAfee as well as Jimmy Gale Watson, Jr., McAfee's bodyguard, with failing to disclose that he was paid for his promotions of several ICOs which he highlighted in his Twitter feed. According to the agency, McAfee was paid in cryptocurrencies worth more than $23 million. He was also charged with "scalping" digital asset securities. Scalping is the practice of accumulating securities and then promoting them at the same time as the scalper sells them off in the market.[24]

Commodity fraud[edit]

On March 5, 2021 the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that in its first manipulation case involving digital assets it had charged McAfee and Watson with engaging in digital asset "pump-and-dumps" involving Verge (XVG), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Reddcoin (RDD). The agency said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York had indicted McAfee and Watson on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to commit securities touting fraud, and money laundering.

The October 2020 SEC case against the two was ongoing at the time of the complaint.

The CFTC said that the two defendants had accumulated positions in purposefully selected digital assets which McAfee would promote ("pump") in social media channels. After the price had risen they would then sell ("dump") the assets at prices they helped inflate. [25]


John McAfee graduated from Roanoke College in 1967. He then studied mathematics at Virginia Tech until 1970.[26][27]


  1. Fugitive millionaire antivirus guru John McAfee plans US presidential run … from yacht in Cuba. South China Morning Post.
  2. Fugitive U.S. tech guru: Cryptocurrency is next Cuban revolution. Reuters.
  3. Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4. Business Insider.
  4. Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4. Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4 (Book).
  5. John McAfee Doubles Down, Mocks Those Who Say They Hacked the Unhackable Crypto Wallet. Gizmodo.
  6. Hacker plays ‘Doom’ on John McAfee’s ‘unhackable’ BitFi Bitcoin wallet. Digital Trends.
  7. John McAfee Keeps Denying That His Wallet Is Hackable, Despite It Being Hacked Again. CryptoDaily.
  8. JBOUNTY #2 - PAYS $10,000. Bitfi.
  9. John Mcafee. Twitter.
  10. John Mcafee. Finance Magnates.
  11. John McAfee Takes on CEO Position at Blockchain Startup. Finance Magnates.
  13. John McAfee’s New Crypto Trading Platform ‘Magic’ Goes Live. Coindesk.
  14. Fugitive millionaire antivirus guru John McAfee plans US presidential run … from yacht in Cuba. South China Morning Post.
  15. Fugitive U.S. tech guru: Cryptocurrency is next Cuban revolution. Reuters.
  16. John McAfee. Twitter.
  17. John McAfee Flees US After IRS Charges Him With “Unspecified Crimes”. Finance Magnates.
  18. John McAfee Vows to Unmask Crypto’s Satoshi Nakamoto, Then Backs Off. Bloomberg.
  19. John McAfee to ‘Go Dark’ on Twitter, Setting Off Speculation. Bloomberg.
  20. Fugitive millionaire antivirus guru John McAfee plans US presidential run … from yacht in Cuba. South China Morning Post.
  21. Fugitive U.S. tech guru: Cryptocurrency is next Cuban revolution. Reuters.
  22. John McAfee Indicted For Tax Evasion, Accused Of Hiding Cryptocurrency, Yacht From IRS. Forbes.
  23. U.S. DOJ: John McAfee Indicted For Tax Evasion, Arrested In Spain. Nasdaq.
  24. Complaint. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  25. CFTC Charges Two Individuals with Multi-Million Dollar Digital Asset Pump-and-Dump Scheme. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  26. Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4. Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4 (Book).
  27. Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4. Business Insider.