Computer software pioneer John McAfee rips Facebook's Libra project

The computer programmer who pioneered McAfee antivirus software criticized Facebook in an interview that aired on Monday over the social media giant's proposed cryptocurrency project, Libra.

John McAfee, a longtime bitcoin supporter, argued during an appearance on Hill.TV that Libra violates the decentralized structure of a digital exchange that allows it to exist outside the control of governments and other authorities.

“Libra is the reverse of the original intent of cryptocurrency — rather than freeing people by giving them privacy and anonymity, it follows everything that you do,” McAfee said. “It’s taking Facebook’s vast knowledge base of every individual and increasing it to include every single financial transaction that they do.

“I don’t think this is in the interest of the people nor in the society,” he added.

A spokesperson for Libra declined to comment on McAfee's remarks. 

Facebook is one of 21 members of the association that developed Libra, which means that the digital currency wouldn't be exclusive to the social giant.

McAfee joined “Rising” to tout his own cryptocurrency exchange, McAfee DEX, which he argues is “fully distributed and fully decentralized,” meaning that the exchange doesn’t ask for even basic information such as email addresses or even someone's name.

“We don’t care where you are — you can be in America or China,” he told Hill.TV.

McAfee's comments come after Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergLGBTQ groups accuse Facebook ads of spreading misinformation about HIV drugs Trump, Pelosi on shortlist for Time Person of the Year Tech finds surprise ally in Trump amid high-stakes tax fight MORE last month faced intense scrutiny from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over his company's plans for a digital currency.

During the hearing, Zuckerberg stressed that the social media company is willing to delay the project until it has the backing of regulators around the world.

“Some have suggested that we intend to circumvent regulators and regulations,” Zuckerberg told members on the House Financial Services Committee. "We want to be clear: Facebook will not be a part of launching the Libra payments system anywhere in the world unless all US regulators approve it.”

—Tess Bonn