Mystery, Malware, and Murder | The Controversial Death of John McAfee
John McAfee has passed away. The government claims suicide but even after his death McAfee disagrees. Q-Anon, claims of murder, and coded messages have sparked a global conversation to rival that of Epstein.
He was a pioneer in the software industry, he worked as a programmer for NASA on the Apollo projects and for Lockheed Martin on a classified project developing voice recognition software. He then went on to develop McAfee Antivirus, the first ever antivirus to go to market, which at one point controlled 70% of the software antivirus industry. He was also an international fugitive accused of tax evasion, market manipulation, drug manufacture, and murder.
McAfee passed away on the 23rd of June 2021, found dead in his prison cell in Catalonia, Spain, from an apparent suicide by hanging. Immediately, the media was whipped into a frenzy, claiming assassination and cover-up. The taste of the passing of Jeffery Epstein was still in the mouths of the major news networks. An interest intensified by mysterious cryptocurrency transactions, alleged secret cryptographic codes, and prophetic tweets intrinsically tied to these events. But how much of the controversy surrounding his death is founded in reality? How much of it can be dismissed as buying into the strange internet presence of a man once labelled “The Prophet of Paranoia”?
Who Was John McAfee?
McAfee lived a long, fascinating, and controversial life. He struggled with drug addiction for much of his early career and was a wild child for the entirety of it. After selling his stakes in McAfee Antivirus he began a campaign against the privacy invasions of big tech, launching two companies specifically targeting mobile privacy. This campaign culminated in McAfee claiming to have discovered an exploit in the Android OS that would allow him to be able to read WhatsApp messages and encouraging the public to not use smartphones for their privacy invasions.
He also took to the creation of natural antibiotics, moving to Belize, where the government raided his home on suspicion of cooking meth. In response to this, McAfee claims to have sent malware infected laptops to high level government officials that would collect information on his behalf. He also claims that the Belizean government contracted cartel hit squads to kidnap or murder him. His wife, Janice, corroborates this, claiming that she was collaborating with her former pimp to poison him.
In more recent years, McAfee began a social media campaign of trutherism regarding Jeffrey Epstein’s assassination and continued his claims that he had collected information on government corruption. He was heavily involved in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, to the extent that there were even claims that he had hacked and leaked information regarding the Billionaire… Which was something McAfee denied.
The software guru’s wild and dangerous life has undoubtedly contributed to the rumors of his assassination. But what exactly happened? How did McAffee go from beloved tech-entrepreneur to the victim of a potential government led assassination?
Here’s The Story:
In 2019, McAfee posted two important tweets. The first was a claim that he had up to 31 terabytes of information on corrupt government officials and even CIA agents. He stated that if he is ever arrested or disappeared that this information would be released to the public and act as a dead man’s switch or an insurance policy.
The second tweet was a photo of a new tattoo. The tattoo was of the word Whackd, accompanied by the text:
Getting subtle messages from U.S. officials saying, in effect: “We’re coming for you McAfee! We’re going to kill yourself”. I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd. Check my right arm.”John McAfee, 30th November 2019, Twitter
In October 2020, McAfee was arrested in Spain, indicted with tax evasion, and jailed in Catalonia. Shortly after his jailing, he tweeted yet again, referencing his own potential murder, this time alluding to the death of Jeffery Epstein, With the words “If I hang myself a la Epstein, I didn’t”. His wife would then add to his claims of being targeted for assassination by powerful forces, saying that the US government was “determined to have John die in prison”. This was posted 3 days before his death.
Then, it happened, McAfee passed away and theories of his assassination took hold.
His widow claimed that in conversations hours before his passing, she saw no indications of suicidality in her husband, while stranger still, his Instagram would feature a singular black ‘Q’ (placed on a white background) shortly after his passing, which left people questioning: ‘Who posted this image?’
The Dead-Man’s Switch:
Immediately after it was posted, the internet descended on the image and Qanon reared ‘his’ head once again. Not only was this post strange because of its timing and the symbolism which it evoked but the potential hidden clues that were embedded within it – a strange string of code whom many believed was cryptographic in nature.
Independently from any hidden codes, internet sleuths were led to a cryptocurrency released by McAfee in 2019. This coin would burn ten percent of each transaction and one in every one-thousand transactions. They then discovered that $Whackd had begun to receive a large number of transactions since McAfee’s death. This was interpreted as a sign that McAfee had rigged the currency to disseminate his stockpile of information into the blockchain once a certain transaction cap had been reached, or a certain number of tokens had been burned.
After this, a smart contract was discovered linked to Whackd named Epstein. Messageboards were ablaze yet again. Online investigators believed that the name of the contract was a reference to McAfee’s past claims that he would be assassinated “a la Epstein”. In the minds of the proponents of the dead-man’s switch theory this was vindication.
To further the barrage of strange clues and foreshadowing, a website then appeared for two days, before being deleted with no explanation. The website was an image of McAfee’s face, accompanied by the words: “contingency plan activated, something big is coming”, and a countdown clock. Furthermore, the page contained a link to the Etherscan page for $Whackd.
The Counter-Argument: Are the Threads of Conspiracy Fraying?
While McAfee’s multiple tweets claim that he would never kill himself are certainly convincing, it is of course impossible to prove whether or not he was suicidal at this precise moment in time. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that strongly points to this cause of death.
A postmortem was conducted by the Spanish government and while courts have yet to provide a solid comment on the death, the Department of Justice has stated that “all signs point to suicide”. Additionally, the newspaper El País has now recieved information saying that both the postmortem concluded it to be a suicide and that McAfee had a suicide note in his pocket at the time of his death.
Strangely, the Spanish government has declined to offer statements corroborating this, although McAfee’s lawyer Javier Villalba would immediately come out to support the conclusion that his client’s death was the result of suicide, believing that McAfee’s end was caused by his despair of being in jail.
However, as we have learnt from the ‘suicide’ of Epstein, the comments of governments, courts, and publications can be manipulated and falsified for ulterior motives… Once again, we may never know the full truth of this incident.
The second point that must be addressed is the dead man’s switch theory, which all began with the Q-post to McAfee’s Instagram. McAfee has claimed in the past that this account, which has since been deleted, is a troll. Secondly, internet radicalization and QAnon expert, Marc-André Argentino, has stated that there are many signs pointing to the post being a scheduled troll. Lastly, the claims that the post contained a cryptographic key leading to the $Whackd contract are false, as the code was found to be Facebook metadata.
As a result of the code being found to be metadata, the dead man’s switch hypothesis now falls to the increased transaction density of $Whackd, the smart contract named Epstein, and SwitchDex, which is the platform the token tracking contract of which has been tracking the transactions.
SwitchDex’s involvement appears to boil down to simply being the foundation on which McAfeeDex, McAfee’s crypto exchange, was based upon. It too seems to indicate why the contract was named Epstein, as $Whackd was released in 2019 as a way for McAfee to protest the alleged cover-up of Epstein’s assassination.
The rapid growth in transactions seen by SwitchDex’s token tracking contract, while remarkable, can also be attributed to the news of McAfee’s death being broken to the public, triggering a rapid moving around of money by it’s holders. If one looks at the coin’s transaction count, there was a large spike in transactions shortly after McAfee’s death, however this already seems to be dying down, which makes the shift seem more like frenzied activity by holders more than a pre-planned machination designed to trigger a data dump.