John McAfee has already established himself as a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world. With his background in programming and cybersecurity, he seems to be pretty fascinated by the decentralized technology and what it has to offer to the world.
We had a talk with him during the Cruise Asia, that took place Jan. 15- 19, and found out how he researches the coins to promote, whether he has any regrets about them and why Blockchain is the best thing that happened to the humanity.
Crypto Daria: You've got 700,000 followers on Twitter. Do you realize how big of an influence you have in the crypto market and do you think it's positive?
John McAfee: Of course! I mean for the cryptocurrency community that's a fairly large number of followers. But it's not just that. I also speak at all the major conferences, I'm close friends with Jihan Wu of BITMAIN – the main manufacturer of, virtually, all the Bitcoin miners, Roger Ver, for instance, or Brock Pierce is my party animal that I party with. I have as much influence in that arena as I do with my followers. In fact, even more. To sit down with Roger Ver and Jihan Wu and talk about Bitcoin Cash - I think vastly is much more influential than tweeting to 700,000 people.
John McAfee speaking in front of the public during the Cruise Asia, January 2018
CD: How do you decide which coin to promote? How do you research them?
JM: First and foremost are the principles able to actually produce what they say. Can you develop the product in a timely fashion? Do you have the team in place that understands the Blockchain, the software, the marketplace? But more importantly is something that I would like to use myself. Like Outings – hell, yes! I would love to use that program. Okay, I'll pay a dollar to get the info I can get from the app. The same with coins. I would love to have that facility - the KWHCoin. I mean I've had a lot of homes that were off the grid. There's no greater nightmare than having more electricity than you can use and this goes to waste; or not having enough. So to be able to transfer back to the electric company through tokens and someone in a place that has access to let me buy from them. Who wouldn't want that facility? So if it's something I personally want – yes, if they can do it, it's a great idea, if it's helpful to the society - there is something I would like to pass on to my children. Then, yes. I would talk about it. Because if I don’t talk about it, then who else? Nobody’s reading those white papers.
CD: Do you evaluate coins differently with time?
JM: Yes, of course. Everybody makes mistakes, you know. In the beginning, they said that's a great idea and then they don't pull this through.
CD: Has anyone ever tried to pay you for mentioning their project and if yes, what were the projects?
JM: I would say definitely they tried to pay me. I'm not going to talk about my personal finances where I make my money or from who. I set up on stage as it’s my business and it should be everybody's business. And actually, I think it's rude to even ask such questions of people. No offense.
CD: Do you feel responsible for the weight of your words and subsequent pump-and-dumps that follow?
JM: Absolutely not. Let's imagine: if I see something that I think the world needs to know about - I’m gonna say it. No sense in me being the only to know. I don't want to whisper it to my friends. Isn’t it far worse? The fact that people take that and pump it, and dump it - that’s their business, not mine. I mean look at on the Verge token. I said Verge would probably double in price in the next few months, well it went up fifteen thousand percent.
It wasn't my fault that people go and buy it at twenty cents. I thought two cents was a lot of money! It's not my problem, you know, I'm just recommending. Because it [company] does have some privacy things to it [coin] and it has the possibility with the race protocol to actually become a real privacy point. When it's going to happen now, I don't know. But it’s sure not worth what it is.
And for the other people: if people want to be greedy and to look at this arena as simply a way to make money - well then they deserve what they get. They could look underneath this and say: this is a revolution! Unlike anything that the world has ever seen. Then forget the money! Why don't you look at the utility, the power of the specific token or coin and how it could change your life and the life of your friends, your loved ones and your children. I'm not gonna stop doing that. You can throw as many rotten tomatoes at me, as you want; call me any names you want - names don't hurt me. You think I'm gonna care what people call me, what they say about me? I could care less.
CD: Of course. Do you have any regrets or disappointments about the coins you've mentioned?
JM: Yes, of course. I regret about FINA coin.
I found out later that one of the founders was a member of a Nigerian criminal organization. It's hard to know all the facts until someone says “By the way, we resources and found this out.” I immediately tweeted and said that I apologize and I took back my recommendation.
But this is the nature of the business. I mean if we're in a brand new economy, brand new paradigm if I don't step in mud bubbles than I'm not doing my job.
CD: What's your number one piece of advice for the crypto investors?
JM: There is none. Because whatever I recommend today will change tomorrow. There'll be something that comes and replaces it. I believe that the future of cryptocurrency is in the new emerging coins technologies and creative ideas that are coming out to through the ICOs. And everybody's overlooking this. People seem to be only concerned with making money - “Is Bitcoin going to rise or fall?” “Is Ethereum going to rise or fall?” “Is there going to be another fork in Bitcoin?”,”What's that gonna be?” “Is it Bitcoin or a Bitcoin Cash?” Screw that, this has nothing to do with these things. It has to do with what's coming behind us, what's emerging from the ground and what is going to change our future. We're forgetting that these are real, life-changing, culture-changing events, attitudes, products, creations. And we have got to watch them. If not - we're gonna miss out on something and the good stuff is gonna get swamped and drowned in the garbage. That is the overall sea of ICOs. We already know, what Bitcoin is, we know what Ethereum is. Fine, do what you want with it. Start digging into the new technologies in there. There’s going to be a Henry Ford, there's gonna be the concept equivalent to the railroad, there's going to be something that will change our lives in such a beautiful way, that if we miss it, we will regret it for a lifetime.
CD: Are you worried about the recent Bitcoin price dip, given your promise in case it falls?
JM: Not at all. When Jamie Dimon announced that Bitcoin was a fraud, Bitcoin dropped 40 percent in a matter of hours. I didn't worry then, I'm not worried now. It has its own life.
CD: What made you make that promise in the first place?
JM: I was on television and it just came out. They said “Will the Bitcoin fall?” And I said: “I'm gonna eat my eat my genitals if it’s not five hundred thousand dollars. And this is back when Bitcoin was four thousand dollars. It's since gone way beyond what I thought it would go. I thought i was wrong, so my projections are way wrong, I changed it to a million dollars. You will see, it will happen.
CD: In your opinion, what prompted the recent market fall and what to expect next?
JM: The same thing that prompted the original crash of Bitcoin, which was JP Morgan, one of the world's largest banks and certainly America's largest bank. All banks all terrified. Everybody's wallet is a bank now and we won’t need banks anymore. Banks are going to disappear, if they do not do something.
CD: Your Twitter account seems to be a constant victim of hacks. How does it happen?
JM: It's only been hacked once. I know exactly how it happened, because the people who did it contacted me. They used a new technique called SIM Swapping. At first I thought they didn’t hack my account - I can't be active. I thought they hacked Twitter, but what they did, they hacked my carrier AT&T, which is the largest carrier. So what they did, using social engineering, kept calling local offices until they found the sympathetic hero. "Oh, my name is John McAfee, I lost my SIM cards, I have a new one. Can you please change my account to this?" And eventually someone did. My phone stopped working. Then they went into Twitter and say I forgot my password, please, send it to my phone.
And so they sent a code to what is supposed to be to my phone but it's their phone. They use that code, change my password and they were on for two and a half hours while I struggled to get back in. I finally hacked myself back in and through the mail. I've never heard of that technique before. It's a brand new social engineering technique of hackling. So it was not Twitter, it was AT&T. I complained to AT&T; they did nothing. What I did is that I took off two-factor authentication, if I had not had two-factor authentication, they could not have hacked me. So now, what used to be the best way to protect yourself, turned out to be the worst, because if you have your phone number in there, then they can get it; they can go in and send that. If you don't have a phone number, they can't send the code anywhere, and they've got to figure out my password, which is impossible.
CD: How do you perceive the core philosophy behind cryptocurrency?
JM: Well the core philosophy is one of the greatest in the world - “let's take power away from the centralized agencies!” When power coalesces, when it compresses into a large entity, it always becomes corrupt. And power always corrupts whether you're an individual or a corporation. So it [the Blockchain technology] takes that away and distributes that power to us. So what this means is that the entire structure of civilization is going to unwind and will reassemble itself in a way that it should have been from the very beginning. We, as people, having our own freedom, our own power. Not having to ask you permission or the government's permission before I can do something. Like send somebody money or receive money, or buy something as long as I'm not harming you or my neighborhood. Then why the hell should I ask permission from anyone to do anything? So this is what's happening, we're entering a permissionless world, where when you reach adulthood, wherever that is, in whatever country and it's different, in Central America, it's the age of 12 (*note: in the countries of Central America the legal age varies from 14 to 18), in America it's 21, when you become an adult, you become your own master. You don't need to ask anybody's permission to do anything. This is the change and this is what's going to take this world and give us finally the opportunity to create Eden, to create perfection. Now we will screw it, we always do, but even in screwing it up - it would be far better than what exists today.
CD: And how do you see the future of the crypto industry?
JM: It's going to explode. I mean we're just in the infancy right now. As I mentioned every aspect of life is getting its own coin and it should have its own coin. It needs its own coin. Because every coin has a different function or should have. So it's going to be like the Internet when it first began. Only a hundred times more profound, more deep and will have an impact that I cannot possibly ignore you foresee even five years out.
CD: Thank you for taking the time!
*Note from the Cointelegraph editorial team