John McAfee, software pioneer and a big crypto supporter, dies in Spanish jail

Karthik Subramanian

John McAfee, the founder of the anti-virus software which was a household name a couple of decades back and a huge crypto enthusiast, has died in a Spanish jail on the same day that a court allowed him to be extradited to the US.

The US law authorities were looking for him on tax evasion charges. McAfee is well known in crypto circles as he regularly used to reviews and endorse many ICO projects in his heyday. It seems that his downfall had begun at around the same time.

He was a pioneer in the software industry in the early 1990s when the anti-virus software built by his company was installed in almost every computer in the US and this was the time when the anti-virus and internet industry really took off. He made millions in licensing fees and the company went public in 1992 but he quit in 1994. He is reported to have lost most of his fortune during the financial crisis in 2008 but gained prominence during the crypto ICO boom a few years back.

The SEC in the US has accused him of promoting ICOs and cryptos on social media in exchange for money though he claimed to be independent. The regulators claim that he had collected around $23 million in exchange for promoting various ICOs and doing consulting work and evaded taxes as well.

But McAfee’s side said that he had already paid a lot of money in taxes and claimed that the authorities were after him as he had spoken against the Internal Revenue Service and that he was speaking for cryptocurrencies which irked the regulators and authorities as they felt that he was promoting cryptos against the fiat system.

He fled the US when the authorities accused him of not filing taxes between 2014 and 2018 but was arrested in Spain in 2020. The Spanish court refused to give him immunity from extradition yesterday and he was found dead on the same day. His death is being treated as suicide by the law authorities.

His life was full of tumult and was known to be crazy enough to run for President in the US in 2016 but he was a man who could neither be loved nor hated. The crypto industry had a love-hate relationship with him as he was one of the first major personalities to back this industry when little was known about it. He did promote shady ICOs and probably did so in exchange for money from them but he was indeed responsible for taking cryptos to the masses during those times when no one seemed to care. While the crypto industry would be thankful to him for that, the investors who invested in many ICOs that went bust would curse him for selfishly promoting them. He will be remembered as a man who was a software pioneer who did his bit for the crypto industry.

Read this next

Digital Assets

Masa Announces Comprehensive AI Developer Ecosystem with 13 Dynamic Partners Focused on Leveraging Decentralized Data and Large Language Models

In a groundbreaking development, Masa, the global leader in decentralized AI and Large Language Models (LLMs), proudly announces the launch of its AI Developer Ecosystem, partnering with 13 visionary projects.


Kinesis Mint becomes the official partner for the House of Mandela

Kinesis Mint, the certified independent precious metals mint and refinery of Kinesis, the monetary system backed by 1:1 allocated gold and silver, has been appointed the exclusive coin producer for the House of Mandela.


Kadena Announces Annelise Osborne as Chief Business Officer

Kadena, the only scalable Layer-1 Proof-of-Work blockchain, expands its leadership team by onboarding Annelise Osborne as Kadena’s new Chief Business Officer (CBO).


TNS brings full-stack market data management to EMEA

“We are also delighted to have Ben Myers join our London-based TNS Financial Markets team as Head of Strategic Sales for EMEA, to bolster our presence in the region.”


Velocity Labs and Ramp Network facilitate fiat to crypto onramp on Polkadot via Asset Hub support

Velocity Labs is proud to announce a fiat to crypto onramp using Ramp Network through the integration of Asset Hub. Through it, Ramp will be able to service any parachain in the Polkadot ecosystem.

Executive Moves

INFINOX hires Mayne Ayliffe as Global Head of HR

“I look forward to working with our teams around the world to develop a strategic HR agenda that supports high performance and is centred on human motivation.”


Sterling to provide risk and margin support for fixed income

“Firms must have the tools to effectively manage their risk across all asset classes. As yields rise, we see more exposure from clients in the fixed income space. We understand their need to measure and mitigate risk in a highly regulated environment.”

Retail FX

FXOpen launches HK share CFDs: Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, Baidu

Hong Kong share CFDs will be commission-free for a limited period of time.

Retail FX

IronFX Celebrates an Award-Winning Start to 2024 with a Series of Industry Recognitions

IronFX, a global leader in online trading, has embarked on 2024 with a spectacular display of accolades that highlight its commitment to excellence and innovation in the competitive financial services sector.