- John McAfee has become one of the best-known Bitcoin supporters in the last year, but his story goes far deeper than being a crypto expert.
- He is considered to be one of the most controversial figures in the world of crypto and technology, with countless ups and downs throughout his life.
- His career included developing one of the most popular anti-virus software to date, alcohol and drug abuse, several arrests, and return to the public scene as a well-respected crypto soothsayer.
John McAfee is by far one of the most interesting, as well as most controversial public figures today. He has had an eventful life which led him from being a door-to-door salesman to being an anti-virus maker and a cryptoanalyst, with numerous substance abuse incidents, countless lawsuits, and several arrests in between.
He also moved to Belize for a while, he attempted to run for president of the US, created his political party, and much more. His life is filled with fascinating anecdotes, disputed events, and surprising twists that have brought him to where he is now. With that in mind, here are seven interesting facts you probably did not know about John McAfee.
1) McAfee had a troubled youth
McAfee was born in the UK on September 18th, 1945. While he was still very young, his parents moved to Roanoke, Virginia. He had had a difficult childhood, with his father being an alcoholic and committing suicide when McAfee was 15 years old. He then went to Roanoke College where his alcohol abuse originally started.
2) His business career began with magazines
McAfee has had quite a colorful business career, and he started off selling magazines door-to-door. After that, he started working at a firm that coded punch-card systems, which is where he became familiar with the basics of computing. With this knowledge, he managed to get a job at the Missouri Pacific Railroad, where he worked on using the new computer system for creating train schedules.
In the 1970s, he moved to Silicon Valley, where he worked for different technology companies. In 1986, the first big computer virus hit PCs, which is when he decided to start his own anti-virus company. Soon enough, his security software was used by some of the largest firms around the world, although individual users were still unaware of the online threats, and not particularly interested in applying his anti-virus. However, when another virus called Michelangelo hit in 1992, infecting over 5 million computers, the demand for protection software made McAfee’s own anti-virus the most popular one around.
He resigned from his company in 1994, when he decided to retire and keep a low profile. He spent years lecturing at a business school, advising startups, and working on his own smaller projects.
3) He had quite an alcohol and drug problem
As mentioned, McAfee started drinking in college, which continued throughout his business career. He also began experimenting with harder drugs, often during working hours. One day he bought a psychedelic DMT, and after using it, he felt nothing. He then decided to use the entire bag, which caused vivid hallucinations, paranoia, and hearing voices. He ended up running out to the streets, and hiding behind a trash can, with people approaching him and asking questions which he was unable to understand.
He continued using drugs after the incident as well, until 1983 when he started feeling alone and scared, which is when he decided to seek help.
4) He lost his fortune in an economic collapse
After quitting his company, McAfee decided to sell his shares, which brought him quite a fortune. With $100 million in his possession, many believed he was set for life. However, in 2008, an economic collapse that inspired the creation of Bitcoin affected McAfee’s fortune quite strongly, and he lost an estimated 96% of what he owned.
5) He sold everything to move to Belize
Later in the 2000s, McAfee believed that the world of antibiotics is the next big thing where he can make a breakthrough, so he sold everything and moved to Belize to work with the company called Quorumex. While there, however, he became convinced that he is being followed and watched, which eventually led to him losing connection to society. Later, in 2012, he fled the country after becoming a person of interest in a murder case that involved the death of his neighbor, Gregory Faull.
He was living in Guatemala when the country’s police arrested him for illegal entry, and after being detained for some time, he was sent back to the US.
6) McAfee started his party and ran for president
After returning to the US, he received a lot of attention, which he decided to use in September 2015 when he decided to start a new political party called The Cyber Party. He also attempted to run for the president of the US. He tried to join the Libertarian Party, but he failed to win the nomination, with New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson winning it instead.
7) McAfee developed an interest in crypto after leaving a shady company
Finally, he got involved with a mysterious tech company called MGT Technologies, which invested in games and cybersecurity, but also in a small drugmaker. Soon enough, McAfee left the company, which is when he developed an interest in digital currencies.
He developed a particular interest in Bitcoin and had made some of the most bullish claims to date, stating that Bitcoin will hit $500,000 by 2020. While there is no way of knowing whether or not this will happen, many consider him a tech genius, which is why many have taken his predictions to be extreme, but possible.
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