John McAfee, a British-American computer programmer, known for his company’s anti-virus software, and lately one of the leading promoters of initial coin offerings (ICO), has surprised everyone by having a change of heart about the whole ICO business.
SEC “Threatens” McAfee
Seventy-two-year-old McAfee, who unsuccessfully ran for US president as a member of the Libertarian Party in 2016, took to Twitter to say he will no longer be endorsing ICOs because he had received “threats” from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
However, he also promises to advise his 820,000 followers on the alternatives to ICOs that would be out of the SEC’s touch:
“Due to SEC threats, I am no longer working with ICOs nor am I recommending them, and those doing ICOs can all look forward to arrests. It is unjust but it is the reality. I am writing an article on an equivalent alternative to ICOs which the SEC cannot touch. Please have patience.”
This is not the first time for McAfee to get in trouble with the police. When he lived in Belize, he was suspected of ordering the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull and was wanted for questioning. For this scandal he blamed the overwhelming corruption in Belize and business competition, saying there was even a plot to assassinate him. He escaped to Guatemala in 2012, where he was arrested and brought back to the US at the end of 2012.
By his own admission, McAfee has been jailed multiple times on various charges, ranging from drunk driving to drug abuse.
In June 2018, he tweeted that he plans on running for US president again in 2020, either with the Libertarian party or with his party that he would create in case the Libertarian party refuses to nominate him.
The Rise and Fall of Crypto influencers
McAfee is (or at least was until now) part of a sizable network of the so-called cryptocurrency influencers, people who promote ICOs on social media, blogs, etc.
These influencers, which BTCManager reported on June 18, 2018, earn money by researching, writing and advising on investing cryptocurrencies online. Companies often contact them with requests that they promote their ICOs or review their coins.
McAfee tweeted in March 2018, evidence that he earns as much as $105,000 for each tweet he publishes endorsing ICOs and related products.
Influencers have helped ICO companies boost their businesses and gather billions of dollars at the height of the cryptocurrency mania.
The virtual currency industry also relies on Telegram, a Russian-based messaging application. Most of the virtual assets have Telegram groups where they inform investors, potential buyers, and enthusiasts about all the developments concerning them. On top of that, there are many digital asset-focused Telegram groups to look for projects, do some networking, and even pitch ideas.
However, ICOs have undergone an increased inspection from regulators in recent months, and the SEC considers them securities that should be registered with the regulator.
Some experts even believe that people who are paid to promote ICOs might come in collision with the law because they are acting as unregistered broker-dealers.