Fugitive U.S. tech guru: Cryptocurrency is next Cuban revolution
7 July, 2019, 4:00 pm
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.
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.