A man who created one of the largest antivirus companies, went to jail, tried for the U.S. presidential seat, and now deals cryptocurrencies.
John McAfee is one of the most mysterious persons of our time. He created one of the largest antivirus companies in the world, but he became a true legend for a group of people at a later stage of his life.
Once McAfee lived in Belize and according to the reports was arrested for drug possession of and other offenses.
Since that time, he managed to participate in one U.S. presidential race. Found his own political party and then gained even greater popularity due to cryptocurrencies (and his active support of them).
Here is a brief history of his life: who he was, who he became and who he is today. It is definitely cannot be called boring.
John McAfee was born in the United Kingdom in the mid 40's. His parents moved to Roanoke in Virginia when he was a child.
In the early years, McAfee had a hard time. His father who worked as a land surveyor in road construction was an alcoholic, and when John was only 15 his father committed suicide. According to John, he still wakes up every day with the thought of that nightmare.
McAfee graduated the Roanoke College, where, like his father, he became addicted to alcohol. But unlike his parent, John was also a very talented entrepreneur. His first business was selling magazines with home delivery, which helped him to raise his first capital.
In late 60's John joined the company, which was developed punch cards coding where he learned the ropes of computer programming. Later, thanks to these skills, he found a job at Missouri Pacific Railroad, where he helped the company to implement the latest IBM computer system for scheduling trains.
During his work in Missouri Pacific Railroad, McAfee began to use heavy drugs. According to Wired, he could work many days in a row, being under the influence of LSD. He once bought a psychedelic known as DMT (dimethyltryptamine). As Wired says, McAfee sniffed a single line, didn’t feel anything and decided to sniff the entire pack at once. And then the real hell began. He panicked, ran out into the street and hid behind the garbage can.
Here's how Wired describes that moment: “People asked him questions, but he didn’t understand what they were saying. The computer printed train schedules one by one and McAfee couldn’t make out a single word. Finally, he found himself behind a garbage can somewhere in the center of St. Louis. There were voices in his head, and he desperately hoped that no one would pay attention to him. After that, he no longer appeared in the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Some part of him thinks that he is still under the influence of that unfortunate drug, and all that has happened after is one big hallucination. One day he will come round and find himself lying in bed in St. Louis and listening to ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd all this time.”
In the 70's, McAfee moved to the Silicon Valley. There he worked in different technologic companies, including the Space Technology Research Institutes (NASA) and continued to abuse drugs and alcohol. And only in 1983 McAfee finally decided to move on to a sober lifestyle. At that time, he worked in Omex, where, according to Wired, he sniffed cocaine and drank scotch every single day. As John said, suddenly he started feeling lonely and frightened, and finally decided to ask for help.
In the 80's, when computers were still an invention, McAfee worked in Lockheed. In 1986, the devices were attacked by the first computer virus in the world. After reading about that hostile programs that were able to penetrate the user’s computers, McAfee decided to start his own company to combat such threats.
McAfee Associates made an unprecedented success in a very short time. By the end of the 80's, its annual profit reached $5 million, and the antivirus programs were used by largest companies throughout the world.
However, McAfee managed to achieve an even greater success - thanks to the virus called Michelangelo, which began to spread around the world in 1992. McAfee called the virus as being one of the most dangerous ever, calculating that Michelangelo will infected at least 5 million computers. At that time few people used antivirus programs, but the world was in a real panic: people wanted to protect their computers against the threat, so the demand for antivirus software grew day by day.
Although the virus only infected a few thousand computers, Michelangelo forced McAfee to place the company's shares on a stock exchange, turning McAfee Associates into a multi-billion business.
In 1994 McAfee found a more promising business and resigned from his own company. Two years later he sold out his share in the company earning about $100 million.
After his leave, McAfee has had a quiet life. He consulted the start-up founders, lectured at Stanford Graduate School of Business and worked on his own projects. McAfee also participated in two social networks - PowWow and Tribal Voice - but none of the projects became popular.
In 2008 McAfee was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis. It was reported that the value of his assets dropped from $100 to just $4 million.
At the end of 00s McAfee decided to sell all his real estate and move to Belize, where he planned to start a business in the pharmaceutical sphere. McAfee believed that with the help of microbiologist Allison Adonizio he could create a medicine that would help plants to fight diseases. His new company was called Quorumex.
But everything went wrong in Belize. Suddenly he fell under the persecution mania.
He became a regular consumer of the Lover's Bar. As the media wrote, he simply went there every day to looked at other visitors in the bar. McAfee was obsessed with that and stopped doing anything else. His whole life was focused on observing the unfavorable district. Six months later he wrote in his diary that he had lost all contact with society.
"Without any doubt, my fragile connection with a decent society was finally broken. My cloth has no difference from the most miserable rags of Tijuana beggars. And my hygiene is not better. Yesterday I first took care of my needs in public, in the middle of the day."
When in 2012 his neighbor Gregory Faull was shot, according to Reuters, McAfee was a suspect in this case. And after the interrogations he even fled Belize.
McAfee was arrested in Guatemala. According to the reports, this was attributed to two reporters from the Vice magazine, that came over for an interview. Vice magazine accidentally published photos of McAfee with GPS coordinates. Soon the Guatemalan police managed to find McAfee and arrested him for illegally entering the country. While McAfee was in custody, he had suffered from heart problems. In the end he was deported to the United States.
After these events, media started a real hysteria. Everyone wanted to know who McAfee was, where he was and was insane.
And it seemed like McAfee didn't want to make his life any easier. In 2013 he published a strange video called ‘How to uninstall McAfee antivirus’. In it McAfee was surrounded by half-dressed women while explaining how remove McAfee antivirus from a computer, which he heavily criticized after leaving the company. The video contains scenes with weapon and references to drugs, although this was done for the purposes of comedy.
Later in August 2013 McAfee was arrested for drunk driving and illegal weapon possession. In his Facebook he admitted to driving under the influence of Xanax drug, but he blamed his doctors for not telling him it was forbidden to drive a car while using the medicine.
After these events, McAfee rarely appeared in public. He settled in Portland, Oregon, and occasionally published articles on cybersecurity, the protection of personal data and personal freedom in his blog.
In September 2015 he participated in the 2016 U.S. presidential race and announced the creation of his own political party – Cyber Party. He presented it to the public in an official YouTube video.
McAfee presented his pre-election program at the Libertarian National Convention but failed to secure a nomination. Instead, the former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson was chosen.
In May 2016 McAfee was appointed president and CEO of the new technology company MGT Technologies. Initially, the company invested in mobile games and daily fantasy sport (virtual tournaments, where the participants recruit teams from real players from different clubs, and the match results are determined by sporting indicators of these players in real life), and later decided to enter the cybersecurity market.
But today everyone talks about McAfee because of other reason. A couple of years ago when he became seriously interested in cryptocurrencies he made some eccentric acts and statements.
Perhaps the most discussed was his forecast for bitcoins rate. In July 2017 McAfee promised to eat his penis if the price of bitcoin doesn’t reach $ 500,000 within three years. He wrote on his Twitter:
Bitcoin bouncing back fast from it technical correction: pic.twitter.com/6jG7FmXRq4— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 17, 2017
But that is not all. In November 2017 McAfee raised the stakes: he promised the same thing but predicted a growth of up to 1 million dollars by the end of 2020.
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. pic.twitter.com/WVx3E71nyD— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) November 29, 2017
In April 2018, McAfee engaged in advertising of cryptocurrencies and the promotion of ICOs. He highly appreciated his services: the cost of one post on his official Twitter account with 844 thousand subscribers was estimated at $105,000 - that is $435 per symbol. But in June the entrepreneur announced that he would no longer advertise ICO projects - because of the "threats" from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In addition, McAfee is going to launch his own currency - McAfee Coin. The businessman plans to create a fiat currency that will be backed up by a digital one. At the same time, he isn’t abandoning attempts to become a politician: in early June McAfee announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency in 2020.
And most recently yet another incident has occurred. McAfee claimed that someone has attempted to assassinate him. On June 22 he woke up after two days of unconsciousness, as reported in hisTwitter. “I apologize for my three day absence, but I was unconscious for two days and just woke up. My enemies maged to spike something that I ingested. However, I am more difficult to kill that anyone can possibly imagine. I am back”, - said McAfee. He even threatened the criminals, saying that he knows who they are.
And for those who did this - You will soon understand the true meaning of wrath. I know exactly who you are. Youh had better be gone. pic.twitter.com/URgz5BtMLF— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) June 22, 2018
We wish McAfee a speedy recovery and hope that his forecast for the bitcoin growth will come true.