If you’d prefer to listen to the entire episode, please do so – it’s an entertaining podcast and John was in excellent form. Hosted by Andy Pickering, Andy conducted an insightful and entertaining interview – and we’re revisiting an edited version of the conversation below.
Andy Pickering: The obligatory set up to this interview is to explain that while I am in Auckland, New Zealand, John, you are in a location that is best described as undisclosed. And the reason that you’re in an undisclosed location is that you may or may not be on the run from the U.S. government. To give the listeners an idea of your nomadic, flamboyant, and occasionally precarious lifestyle – John, can you tell me which nation-states, which intelligence agencies, and which state departments are currently inquiring after your good self?
John McAfee: Well, I know that the FBI is. The FBI was involved in my indictment on the 22nd of January of this year. And the CIA, unquestionably the CIA. And this is on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service and the SEC which are my archenemies. Right now we are in a very safe environment, we’re in a Faraday cage. Nothing can get in or out of this room except the internet connection, which goes across a very complex series of virtual private networks.
Andy: Can you explain what a Faraday Cage is John?
John: A Faraday Cage is, you can have a very small one, simply wrap your phone in tin foil, and that’s a Faraday cage, meaning that your telephone can no longer send or receive signals. It can be a room, like I’m in now, where metallic material is used to prevent signals from coming in or going out. And the reason for that is you never know what has been hacked. It’s impossible in my situation to have a phone, we would be located almost immediately. So we carry no electronic gear outside the room. What’s in the room, even if it has been hacked, both hardware and software cannot communicate with whoever hacked it, nor can it communicate with the spyware, a central server or anything else. Everything has to go through our secure intranet and that cannot be traced back to me.
Andy: You’re in the process of launching a decentralized exchange, the McAfeeDEX. You tweeted recently that “The SEC will come down hard on me for my wild, wild west exchange but there is nothing to shut down. Our technology is simply smart contracts forever residing on the blockchain.”
John: Well, blockchain is the first world-changing technology in the past 75 years that did not come from within the bowels of a government secret program or from Apple, or IBM, or Samsung. Soon governments will start to crack down on centralized exchanges and without exchanges, we’re dead in the water. A centralized exchange has a location. It has an address, it has electricity which can be shut off. It has people managing it who can be arrested, detained, or eliminated. It is a weak point. A decentralized, distributed exchange is our only hope, and that’s what I have created. The McAfeeDEX. We don’t hold your money. We don’t ask you who you are. We don’t want to know anything about you. We are simply a portal onto the Ethereum blockchain and soon many more.
Andy: To date, however, decentralized exchanges have been slow to take off. And that’s because so far, the decentralized exchange user experience has been extremely clunky, liquidity has been lacking, and John, your exchange has not done anything to solve this…
John: We’re still in beta. No, of course, it’s not useful now. But by the second quarter of 2020 when we’re going to go live, at that point, it is useful. Right now I want people to check it out, see the potential and help us grow into something that simply can not be shut down.
Andy: In July 2017 you predicted that the price of one Bitcoin would increase to $500,000 within three years. And then in November 2017 you increased the prediction to $1 million. How confident are you in the prediction?
John: Well, I can’t lose. And here’s the reason. I mean, anybody that’s been through high school mathematics, at least through algebra, anybody who wants to gather statistics about Bitcoin will learn a couple of things. Number one there are only 21 million Bitcoins ever to be mined. 18 million have already been mined and it’s going to be many years before those other three million exist. Many millions have been lost forever and cannot be accessed. Okay, so you have a commodity, which is increasing in demand and decreasing dramatically in supply. If I’m a market analyst and I say I’ve got a system that is plummeting towards zero supply and infinite demand – if I said it’s going to be $5 trillion by the end of the year, you shouldn’t even bat an eye. That’s my answer.
Andy: Well, to be fair, John, you were one of the first to make what was thought of at the time as an outrageous public price prediction, but since that time, PlanB’s stock to flow model has become a popular narrative. He’s a quant analyst and his model has some similarities to your prediction, it’s just math, right?
John: It’s all math. I’m a student of human nature. It takes two to three years for even the brightest to acknowledge new facts. But around February of next year, analysts are going to realize that the Bitcoin supply is going towards zero, and the demand is going to increase. They’re going to figure it out. It can’t be less than a million dollars by the end of 2020.
Andy: Very bullish statements, John, We’ll see how that goes. Speaking of 2020 – are you still running as a Libertarian in the American presidential election?
John: Oh, absolutely. McAfee2020.com is my website. I ran in 2016 and came third in the Libertarian primary. I don’t think I have any competition this time. I mean, I hate to be rude, but Gary Johnson has gone. All the big names are no longer there.
Andy: What is it about the Libertarian position that appeals to you?
John: It’s a simple issue. Who are we as people? We’re individuals. We have love and compassion, grace and generosity. And at the same time, we have greed, hostility, jealousy, and anger. We’re a mixed bag. A sane society does not try to eliminate the bad, it’s not possible. You try to integrate it in a way that makes sense. Now, what do we really need to be governed? What do we need or what do we owe society as members of society? I think we owe them the right to be free themselves without my interference and we owe them the right not to steal from them. We owe them the right to be as truthful as we possibly can and we owe them the right not to be harmed, that’s it. What more do you need? Nothing. Nothing other than self-responsibility. A libertarian society is not the garden of Eden. You have to bear responsibility for your actions. But this is all we need as law.
Hear the full interview here.