John McAfee: The Story of a Crypto Enthusiast

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John McAfee was born in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, the United Kingdom on September 18, 1945, to an American father and a British mother at an American military base. John’s family relocated to America early in his life and settled in Salem, Virginia and later moved to Roanoke.

Who is John McAfee?

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John David McAfee is a British-American computer programmer and businessman best known for his role of creating the first eponymous antivirus back in 1987 named McAfee Antivirus.

Life of John McAfee

His childhood was not pleasant by John’s recollections. His father was a heavy drinker who beat both John’s mother and him regularly “for no reason.” He was “a very unhappy man,” according to John.

When John MacAfee was 15 years of age, his father killed himself through a gunshot to his head. This act has stayed with John ever since and has made him describe his life as a “f**ked life.”


McAfee went on to enroll in the Roanoke College in Virginia to study mathematics. It was at the Roanoke College that John picked up the habit of drinking while he was a freshman. Drinking is an expensive habit and, in order to support his lifestyle, John decided to try a side business.

His first stab at earning a living was a newspaper salesman selling dailies door to door. Early on, he discovered the importance of confidence as a salesman. John describes his selling strategy in the following manner: During his sales visits to homes, he would open with a fluttering statement that the residence owner had won a magazine free subscription which entitled them to a free newspaper.

However, they had to pay a small ‘fee’ to cater for shipping and handling. In an interview with Wired Magazine, John commented about his selling technique saying “So, in fact, I [was] explaining to them why it’s not free and why they [were] going to pay for it. But the ruse worked.” According to John, he made a small ‘fortune’ out of this hustle.

His money was mostly spent on booze but he managed to graduate and joined Northeast Louisiana State College in 1968 to study a postgraduate degree in mathematics. He was, however, expelled from the college for sleeping with one of his students (whom he later married). John’s recollections about college years can be summed up in his words

“You have the umbrella that isolates you from reality … The college campus is the most magical place on earth because you get to create a reality of your own making.”


John McAfee’s first formal employment was at Univac in Bristol, Tennessee where he was in charge of creating programs for old-school punching cards. He, however, got fired for misconduct after having been arrested for buying marijuana. He narrowly escaped conviction but lost his job.

With his gained experience in writing code, he soon landed at the Missouri Pacific Railroad in St. Louis where he helping the company schedule trains using an IBM computer system. John was so good at his job that within six months he created a system that optimized train-routing patterns. He didn’t last there too long either as during this time he discovered a new obsession – LSD. He once overdosed on a drug that “shuttered” his mind. He left his post at the MSR and never went back after that incident.

After his brief stint at Missouri Pacific Railroad, John headed east to New York City where he got a job working for NASA’s Institute for Space Studies between the years 1968 to 1970. His affliction for drugs and alcohol did not help him maintain jobs for too long and he ended up hopping from one company to the next never really spending enough time at a single place to master the art.

He went from NASA to Xerox where he worked as an operating system architect, then Computer Science Corporation as a software architect. The early 80’s found him working for Booz Allen Hamilton. The mid 80’s he found a job working for Lockheed as a software advisor.

McAfee Antivirus

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It was at Lockheed that McAfee received a copy of the infamous Brain virus, the first ever recorded computer virus created by a couple of brothers in Pakistan as an experiment to see how far the virus could spread across the global computer network.

The virus worked up an inner deep feeling within McAfee eerily similar to the feeling of his father beating him and his mother. Back when he was younger, he could not do anything but with this virus he had the tools to do something and he set to work to create a program that would identify the virus and prevent it from infecting a computer.

Initially, the program was created and distributed at no cost because McAfee figured that it would be nice to have “others” installing the software on their computers because they thought that it was necessary.

His plan was wildly successful because, in five years, more than half of the fortune 500 companies had installed the software to protect their computers. He decided to sell the software licenses to the companies and he made a killing doing this.

By this time he had to create the software company McAfee Associates to create antivirus software. He quit his job at Lockheed in 1989 to work full time on his startup.

Initially, McAfee ran his company from his home in Santa Clara, California but later incorporated the company in Delaware in 1992. He took the company public and listed its shares in NASDAQ. The company was valued at $80 million by this point. He quit from his company two years later in search of greener pastures.

MGT Capital Investments

McAfee never got back to work after leaving his creation in 1994. By this time he was worth a fortune after liquidating all the shares that he held for McAfee Associates.

He got involved with other real estate businesses and got hit by the 2008 financial crisis losing almost all his wealth. Before the financial crisis, he was worth close to $100 million but his wealth that was mostly tied up in property got wiped down to about $4 million.

He relocated to Belize in search of new adventure but ended up with an adventure beyond his wildest dreams. He fled from the Belize police after being accused of taking part in the murder of his neighbor.

Once back in America, he decided to get to business where he ended up in 2016 being appointed as the chief executive for MGT Capital Investments, a technology holding company.

John McAfee and the cryptocurrencies

Under McAfee’s leadership, MGT, a software security company started shifting its focus to cryptocurrency mining. Someone once asked McAfee how he got into cryptocurrency and he said that his interest was piqued after reading the Bitcoin whitepaper. He’s since left MGT to be an independent consultant of cryptocurrency projects in what he termed as “amicable” and “mutual” terms.


In an interview with the Bloomberg News, McAfee said that his efforts are now focused “almost 100 percent to the crypto world.” In the same interview, he also said that he’s “…looking forward to toiling in obscurity as the world’s foremost authority of all things cyber crypto!”

He has become more of a crypto investment advisor leveraging his close to 900K Twitter followers for promotional tweets.

Some industry journalists have analyzed McAfee’s tweets about the projects he tweets and found that they correlate with huge value gains of the specific projects that are affiliated with him. This practice has come under criticism from other industry experts who are accusing him of taking part in “pump and dump” schemes.

For instance, the most successful project he has been involved with is Verge which rose an astounding, 2000% once McAfee tweeted his support for the project.

The bet of McAfee

In July 2017, McAfee made a bold prediction when he announced to his Twitter followers that Bitcoin was going to rise in value supposing the $500K mark in less than three years. In the event that he was wrong, McAfee promised to eat his penis in front of cameras on national television. In November he revised his prediction from $500K to $1 million.

In another tweet he wrote:

When I predicted Bitcoin at $500,000 by the end of 2020, it used a model that predicted $5,000 at the end of 2017. BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions. I now predict Bircoin at $1 million by the end of 2020. I will still eat my dick if wrong.

— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) November 29, 2017

News about John McAfee

John McAfee and politics

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In 2016, John ran for office seeking to become the President of The United States under the Libertarian Party but lost at the party primaries to Governor Gary Johnson.

He had sought the presidency alongside activist Judd Weiss. In the aftermath of the election, John again announced that he will be running for the oval office once more and his agenda this time is aligned taking cryptocurrency mainstream.

John McAfee poisoning

On June 2018, John was taken ill and rushed to the hospital where he was admitted and hospitalized for a couple of days.

On his Twitter page, he posted an update June 22nd announcing that he was out of danger and that he had ingested something that was “maliciously tampered with.”

John McAfee net worth

The latest statistics on McAfee’s net worth date back to 2010 the year after the financial crisis and then he was worth about USD 4 million.

In 2012, McAfee fled from Belize where he says he had invested most of his money and property thereby effectively forfeiting his wealth. In a recent interview with CNN, he claims to have lost everything.

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