Some of today’s news is the kind of thing you don’t normally see here.
We tend to focus on the prices of coins, regulatory action, and things that seem more germane to the board room than your afternoon tabloid.
This story is different – we have a mysterious death in a Spanish prison, and the legacy of a man who by all accounts courted an extreme amount of drama, and conducted himself in a way that most business people would abhor.
Major media report today that John McAfee died in prison in Spain, commiting suicide while awaiting extradition to the United States for various charges around fraud and tax evasion.
Most people know McAfee best as the pioneer of his branded desktop cybersecurity software, but cryptocurrency fans also know him as one of the leading proponents of Bitcoin in the past few years.
At Coindesk, Nathaniel Whittemore writes a lengthy and passionate eulogy to this departed individual that has some pretty hair-raising elements to it
First of all, Whittemore covers why people some people consider McAfee to have been a shady character.
“(McAfee said July 17, 2017 that) if Bitcoin wasn’t $500 thousand within three years, he would ‘eat his **** on national television,’” Whittemore writes. “A few months later he doubled down, saying: ‘When I predicted bitcoin at $500 thousand by the end of 2020, it used a model that predicted $5000 at the end of 2017. BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions. I now predict bitcoin at $1 million by the end of 2020.’ … Unsurprisingly, as a wave of people got absolutely wrecked thanks to shillers like McAfee, the SEC didn’t stay quiet for long. McAfee started moving into a new phase – staying on the move via his boat and tweeting to his more than million followers.”
When you think about how people usually approach financial advice, you can see that McAfee didn’t have the kinds of redlines that most of us do. Where the magnate may have went wrong, aside from saying he would eat portions of his own genitals in the event of certain Bitcoin price declines, is that he didn’t qualify his predictions with any number of the standard qualifications people use to keep themselves out of trouble.
However, another detail in Whittemore’s story is also disturbing.
It’s not surprising that many Internet posters would believe that McAfee’s apparent suicide was a conspiracy, given the context.
What’s strange is that John McAfee reportedly started telling people that his suicide would be staged as early as 2019, and even got the evidence on his arm.
Here’s the text of McAfee’s tweet: “Getting subtle messages from U.S. officials saying, in effect: ‘We’re coming for you McAfee! We’re going to kill yourself.’ I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd. Check my right arm. $WHACKD available only on http://McAfeedex.com:)”
On the other hand, stories like this one at RT suggest McAfee might have been despondent over his lack of funds, although his reported statement (I regret nothing!) doesn’t sound remotely suicidal.
So did McAfee kill himself? Or did he get whacked?
Look for all of this to play out in a postmortem of McAfee’s life, not only as a person, but as an unusually shaped cog in the global cryptocurrency economic system.