John McAfee, antivirus pioneer, reported Bitcoin billionaire and eccentric fugitive has said that his three year old Dogecoin prediction tweet was the reason behind the latest charges filed against him by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
McAfee’s Recent Woes
John McAfee, popularly known as the founder of the original McAfee antivirus software is also well known in the cryptocurrency community. His outspoken statements and previous troubles with the law have been much highlighted in the community. Recently, he was charged with several serious crimes by the federal Department of Justice (DoJ) for crimes like money laundering, market manipulation and other serious offences. McAfee himself is currently being detained in Spain by local authorities as he was caught while being on the run from the law.
McAfee Claims the Charges are for a Three Year-old Tweet
McAfee claims that the latest charges aren’t for any illegal activities but because of a 2018 tweet in which he predicted a 10 times increase for the price of Dogecoin. Back then, the cryptocurrency was being traded at around $0.014 and it recently reached as high as $0.08 at one point before receding back to $0.05 levels at around press time. This 3 year-old tweet did prove itself but it doesn’t seem like McAfee had anything to do with the recent meteoric rise of the coin. The cryptocurrency remained dormant for around 3 years before it finally managed to post this price increase. Also, while the increase itself is considerable, other cryptocurrencies have posted even better returns and some that he mentioned in the same tweet failed to get any decent traction in the market at all.
McAfee however has openly admitted to promoting Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as paid promotions. He reportedly took more than $105k for each promotion as he tweeted out praises on Twitter in exchange for the paid promotion. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had also registered several cases against him because of this move to promote illegal securities in the country.
A Case of a Vengeful State?
While McAfee did all sorts of questionable promotions for projects, many of which were likely to fail in the near future, it will be hard to argue that they were illegal. He argued that he was using his influencer status to promote projects. However, what might get him in more trouble than his actual actions is his theatrics and continuous verbal altercations with the authorities. McAfee once even became a fugitive from the law and didn’t submit himself to investigation and scrutiny and fled the country before he was caught by Spanish authorities. So, even if the federal agencies are unable to prove any actual wrongdoing, this vocal tirade against the government and fugitive actions might end up making him serve a sentence. However, the trial may commence in the near future and a sentence can only be determined by the end of it.
This is an interesting case because it might set a precedent to try other crypto influencer of manipulating the market and fraud including Elon Musk himself who promoted Dogecoin just weeks before it reached its recent all-time high levels.
Image source: Gage Skidmore under CC