Fugitive U.S. tech guru: Cryptocurrency is next Cuban revolution

HAVANA (Reuters) – On the run from U.S. tax authorities, tech guru John McAfee puffs a cigar aboard his towering white yacht in a Havana harbor and says he can help Cuba evade the U.S. government too – by launching a cryptocurrency that defeats a U.S. trade embargo.

John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, leaves his yacht at the Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba, July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

The creator of the eponymous antivirus software in the 1980s, McAfee in an interview touted the anonymity of the digital currency while also outlining his belief that income tax is illegal and plans to run from Cuba for the Libertarian Party nomination for U.S. president.

“It would be trivial to get around the U.S. government’s embargo through the use of a clever system of currency,” the 73-year-old said Thursday. “So I made a formal offer to help them for free … on a private channel through Twitter.”

While Cuba had not responded, its Communist government said earlier this week it was studying the potential use of cryptocurrency to alleviate an economic crisis aggravated by tighter U.S. sanctions under President Donald Trump.

Countries under U.S. sanctions such as Iran and Venezuela have floated the idea of using digital currency to trade although no scheme appears to have gotten off the ground.

“You can’t just create a coin and expect it to fly. You have to base it on the proper blockchain, have it structured such that it meets the specific needs of a country or economic situation,” said McAfee.

“There are probably less than 10 people in the world who know how to do that and I’m certainly one of them.”

With him on the yacht are his wife, four large dogs, two security guards and seven staff for his campaign “in exile” for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, McAfee said. He previously ran in 2016 and came in a distant third.

McAfee said he did not pay income tax for eight years for ideological reasons and was indicted. The Internal Revenue Service declined comment.

To avoid trial, he left the United States in January for the Bahamas. He arrived in Cuba a month ago after suspecting that U.S. law enforcement was trying to extradite him from the Bahamas.

McAfee is nothing if not colorful. His past includes fleeing Belize where he lived for several years after police sought him for questioning in the 2012 murder of a neighbor, meeting his wife, Janice McAfee, when she solicited him as a prostitute while he was on the run and saying on Twitter last year that he has fathered 47 children.

The cybersecurity expert said he hopes to extend his Cuban visitor visa indefinitely, breaking a U.S. ban on recreational vessels visiting the island imposed last month as well as travel restrictions.

McAfee plans to use social media, where he has 1 million followers on Twitter, to campaign for the Libertarian nomination. Thousands of volunteers wearing masks depicting his face will campaign for him back home and abroad, he said.

CUBA LIBRE

He believes Cuba would never extradite him to the United States. Both Cuba and the United States have a history of providing refuge to individuals wanted by the other country for crimes with political overtones, according to lawyer Pedro Freyre.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Yet cooperation on criminal enforcement improved since a 2014 detente. Cuba last year extradited a U.S. citizen accused of murdering his girlfriend.

Neither the Cuban government nor the U.S. Justice Department replied to a request for comment.

“They just want to put me in jail and not let me speak again,” said McAfee. “I’m not going to allow that because I have too much to say.”

Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Source link

more recommended stories

  • White House to host meeting with tech executives on Huawei ban: sources

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House economic.

  • Trump tells France’s Macron U.S. concerned with proposed digital services tax

    U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during.

  • SoftBank raises $270 million via Seoul unit for early-stage investments

    FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank.

  • UK’s new PM must take 5G decision on Huawei urgently: committee

    LONDON (Reuters) – The new prime.

  • Russia fines Google for failing to filter search results

    FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is.

  • SoftBank’s Son says Japan lacks investment opportunities, is AI ‘developing country’

    FILE PHOTO: Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.

  • Amazon under EU antitrust fire over use of merchant data

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Amazon became the.

  • Ericsson says on track for 2020 targets as second-quarter profit matches forecasts

    STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Mobile network gear.

  • U.S. Justice Department asks appeals court to pause antitrust ruling against Qualcomm

    FILE PHOTO: A Qualcomm sign is.

  • Senate to grill Facebook over plans for Libra cryptocurrency

    WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers.

  • Amazon rivals ride on Prime Day marketing as protests unfold

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc’s.

  • Huawei to invest $3.1 billion in Italy but calls for fair policy on 5G: country CEO

    MILAN (Reuters) – China’s Huawei Technologies.

  • Amazon workers in Germany to strike over pay, Verdi union says

    FILE PHOTO: An Amazon sign is.

  • Israel holds 5G mobile network tender, aims for 2020 launch

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel launched a.

  • China’s Ping An to invest in education startup iTutorGroup

    BEIJING (Reuters) – Ping An Insurance.

  • U.S. regulators approve $5 billion Facebook settlement over privacy issues: source

    (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade.

  • Japan sets up working group on impact of Facebook’s Libra ahead of G7

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese authorities have.

  • Volkswagen zooms ahead in extension of alliance with Ford to electric, automated cars

    , NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ford.

  • Macquarie-backed MEIF 6 Fibre outbids USSL for telecoms firm KCOM

    (Reuters) – Macquarie-backed MEIF 6 Fibre.

  • Trump blasts Bitcoin, Facebook’s Libra, demands they face banking regulations

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald.

  • Twitter back up partially after worldwide outage

    FILE PHOTO – The Twitter logo.

  • French Senate approves tax as U.S. opens probe into digital levy

    PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Senate on.

  • U.S. to probe French plan to tax tech companies

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald.

  • Need quick medical advice in Britain? Ask Alexa

    (Reuters) – Britain’s state-run health service.

  • Appetizing prospects: Uber founder takes aim at South Korea’s shared kitchen market

    SEOUL (Reuters) – Chef Youm Jung-phil.

  • U.S. to provide licenses for sales to Huawei if national security protected

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government.

  • Nine companies set prices for listings on China’s Nasdaq-style tech board

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Nine Chinese companies,.

  • Facebook not invited to White House social media summit: company

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc said.

  • The high-tech trade dispute rooted in Japan’s wartime history

    TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Japan has tightened.

  • Exclusive: U.S. clears SoftBank’s $2.25 billion investment in GM-backed Cruise

    (Reuters) – Cruise, a U.S. self-driving.

  • Amazon founder Bezos’ divorce final with $38 billion settlement: report

    FILE PHOTO: 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar.

  • Boxing with giants: Italy’s packing robots are not just cardboard cutouts

    (This June 28 story corrects Romaco’s.