John McAfee denies he is a Toronto startup’s chief security officer

Editor’s Note: This story earlier ran with the headline “Toronto blockchain firm names John McAfee as chief security officer.” Since then, John McAfee has tweeted that he has not accepted a position with the company and the story has been updated to reflect that.

John McAfee says he’s not accepted the position of chief security officer at a Toronto-based blockchain startup, despite that firm releasing a press release to the contrary released Thursday.

McAfee’s statement was prompted after Equibit Development Corp. (EDC) claimed McAfee would report directly to its board of directors and oversee the security of its applications and managed services for the financial industry. Several media publications including IT World Canada, Seeking Alpha, Fortune, and VentureBeat brand a story based on the press release about McAfee’s association with Equibit.

McAfee and his wife, Janice, took to Twitter saying they now had to do “damage control” and that McAfee is not the CSO of Equibit. McAfee offered this explanation of what happend:

The startup is developing its own blockchain to facilitate an over-the-counter trading network for securities. The announcement of the apparently high-profile appointment came during a pre-sale of 1 million “equibit tokens” in a system that will eventually make 21 million total units available through a crowd sale.

McAfee, the CEO of MGT Capital Investments, is well known as the founder of antivirus company McAfee Associates that was bought by Intel Corp. in 2010 for $7.68 billion and is still sold under the McAfee brand. In recent years, he’s been the subject of headlines for his lifestyle choices, interactions with law enforcement in Belize, and for his readiness to make public and controversial statements about his former company and other players in the tech sector.

In an interview with The Toronto Star in July 2013, McAfee discusses his struggles with drug abuse in the ’70s, the video he made criticizing his namesake antivirus program at a table covered with guns and “bath salts” containers, and how he evaded Belize police when he was wanted as a person of interest in the November 2012 murder of Gregory Faull.

Earlier this year, McAfee contested Gary Johnson and Austin Peterson for leadership of the U.S. Libertarian Party and was involved in a televised debate March 29. McAfee vied for leadership of that Libertarian Party after first announcing in late 2015 that he was running for president as leader of a newly-formed Cyber Party.

In late 2015, McAfee lent his profile to a Kickstarter campaign for Everykey, a product that provided a master key to a user’s smartphone, laptop, wireless accounts, and other devices. (Image at top is a screen capture of the Everykey video.)

EDC says that its network, once functional, will offer “uninterrupted over-the-counter trading, with unforgeable equities, market information, compliance tools, and streamlined investor messaging.”

EDC couldn’t be reached for comment at time of publication.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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