Antivirus software pioneer: Crypto companies don’t have obligation to combat criminal activity


John McAfee, who pioneered the McAfee antivirus software, pushed back against the notion that cryptocurrency companies have an obligation to combat criminal activity on their platforms.

McAfee argued in an interview that aired on Monday that officials can’t expect companies behind digital currency exchanges or cryptocurrencies to police such activity, even as he called himself troubled by digital currency being used for illicit means. 

“You can’t put that responsibility on me as an entrepreneur,” he added. “You can’t require me to assist you in preventing what might be a future crime.”

When pressed further on the issue, McAfee said that he hoped the “societal impact of giving people freedom from an overburden and corrupted government” outweighs “what small part criminals are going to play in this technology.”

McAfee, a vocal cryptocurrency advocate, launched his own cryptocurrency trading platform earlier this year.

McAfee DEX, first launched in October, is a fully decentralized exchange platform that is free from government or company control. 

“It is fully distributed and fully decentralized, meaning that we don’t hold money, we don’t ask for names, information,” he told Hill.TV. “We don’t ask anything about you.” 

Critics have long raised concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, saying the digital currency gives rise to organized crime and pose some fundamental security problems.

Earlier this year, blockchain tracking firm Chainalysis released a report saying that criminal activity has grown in recent years with Bitcoin being the cryptocurrency of choice by organized criminal groups.

Chainalysis co-founder Jonathan Levin told Fortune magazine that Bitcoin accounts for 95 percent of all cryptocurrency that is investigated by law enforcement.

—Tess Bonn

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