He founded an antivirus software that is today touted as the most secure by security experts and users alike. Went on to exit the company in a 7.26$ Billion deal with Intel (McAfee). Followed by trialling in escaping the typical Californian materialistic life to Belize, drugs, living with multiple women, tax evasion cases, fugitive of the Belize state under suspicion of murder.
A colourful life, one can say. McAfee was definitely a polarizing figure for most but can also be seen as a revered person in certain spaces because of his stance for freedom and embracing being an “outlier”.
History of McAfee
Like many entrepreneurs before him, McAfee came from a completely different upbringing than the life he eventually elevated to. He had a troubled upbringing as he mentions his father was an alcoholic who abused both him and his mother. At the age of 15, his father shot himself.
“Every day I wake up with him,”.
“Every relationship I have, he’s by my side; every mistrust, he is the negotiator of that mistrust. So my life is fucked.” -McAfee
Here we can see that his past was one thing that forever haunted him and one he could not simply get away from. The troubles of a rocky past, meant he always had a complicated affair with drug abuse, with him barely scraping through his first degree but eventually finding his confidence whilst studying a PHD in Mathematics. However, he left his job at “Missouri Pacific” where he was tasked at scheduling train routes.Sadly these routes were programmed by a McAfee on LSD and DMT… the resultant code was a rogue code which was scheduling trains “to the moon” ; he could not explain to his superiors what went wrong with the code. He is quoted saying he believes that the DMT trip never ended, and his life afterwards has just been part of this massive trip.
He went through a divorce and whilst at the same time losing his job at Omex.
Eventually, he heard about two Pakistani brothers who, to date, probably created the first known computer virus to man.
This triggered his PTSD and past paranoia of the fear of his Dad always being able to hit him at any time without him being able to stop it. He started McAfee associates out of his home and gave it away on electronic billboards. He was not expecting to make that much money but soon most Fortune 100 companies had their software and he was making $5 Million in revenue per year.
He was in the business of selling fear, his own paranoia, and it damn did it work well. He used media appearances to push the narrative of the extreme threat of viruses, and even wrote a book on it in 1992 :
“Computer Viruses, Worms, Data Diddlers, Killer Programs, and Other Threats to Your System. “
Eventually, almost every computer had the McAfee antivirus. THE company was listed on Nasdaq and he sold his shares for about $100 Million.
Politics & Battle with Law
McAfee’s wealth became a burden to him as his paranoia had now extended to the feeling that everyone was out to get him just because of his name. For example, he had a lawsuit for someone tripping on the garden of one of his estates. Coupled with the financial crash of 2008, he decided to liquidate his assets and move to Belize, where he eventually became a “Person of interest” due to suspicion of murder, alongside increasing pressure from the SEC, McAfee’s paranoia in the last years grew massively.
You can find more on this through this article:McAfee on BTC,Exile & the US
McAfee & Crypto
- 2017 bull run’s “Elon Musk” per se
- One of the first tech pioneers to embrace crypto and to a certain extent guide it to the mainstream
During the height of the ICO boom during the last bull cycle. McAfee concentrated his social power and influence by becoming a paid promoter where he is quoted saying that he would receive upwards of $100,000 for a single promotional tweet.
However, he began to slow down on the activity after receiving threats of investigation from the SEC ( Securities Exchange Commission).McAfee is never shy from controversies as some projects claim that they never got what they paid for but were too fearful to call him out for not following through on his promise as the negative backlash from him would tarnish the image that they left. There are cases where McAfee was rewarded 20% or more of a token’s supply in order to promote it, which is almost suicidal for the project.
Motherboard tracked McAfee’s tweets and sought to see if there is a correlation between them and movements in price in alternative investments within the crypto market and they found a stark positive correlation.
Whether McAfee partnership agreements actually benefited the projects who spent money on him, is a question unanswered as most projects were at risk of him negatively tarnishing their image if they did come out. One undisclosed partner had this to say:
“It has become clear that the ‘Alliance’ was just an attempt to gain momentum in the space together, but Team McAfee has failed to deliver any real value. Our company feels as if there was no earnest effort to produce any exposure for [the project] and we are frustrated, disappointed and remorseful.”
Although the details of his death are still largely unknown, the Spanish authorities suspect it was a death by suicide. However, this creates a level of eeriness as McAfee spent his last years in immense paranoia as he felt everyone was after him.
He then got a tattoo and tweeted stating that if he ever killed himself, he didn’t but it was rather a cover up instead.
It is a shame that his life ended the way it did, although a polarizing figure, one can say that he did show the blueprint of a “defiant” life and despite his controversies, he is still someone that some people may look at with awe.
McAfee Feature on Survival Skills Podcast (Link)
If McAfee’s energy and approach to life has intrigued you,then take a deeper dive. You can hear more about him and his opinions. You can catch him talking about governance and wealth on the Survival Skills podcast hosted by the Crypto U founder Grey Jabesi here.
This article is not intended in any way to disrespect McAfee or his estate, more rather an educational piece of his life and influence. The stories and speculations stated within are not guaranteed or proven facts, and the questions we may have may simply never be answered.
We hope that you rest well John, stay easy.
Written by Rodrick Chattaika © Crypto University 2021