With the release of China’s digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) imminent, there has been a lot of opinions and analysis, so, at Asia Crypto Today we decided to get the view from one of the biggest names in the industry, John McAfee. 

Over email, the McAfeeDEX founder talked about the implications of China’s new currency, what its competition might be, and his thoughts on the cryptocurrency industry going forward. 

With McAfee currently a fugitive from his home country of the US due to an ongoing dispute with the inland revenue system (IRS), we thought it would be best to ask what China’s DCEP means for his homeland. 

Various commentators, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, had begun touting the idea that national digital currencies like China’s DCEP could prove a problem for Trump’s America. However, McAfee is unconvinced that China’s DCEP will be an issue for US hegemony expecting its impact to be “limited”. 

For McAfee, the real barometer of China’s DCEP success will be over time as other nations begin creating their own versions. “Cryptocurrencies are complex and multifaceted,” he said, “It’s not who creates one first — it’s who creates the most powerful one.”

John McAfee
John McAfee has long been a cryptocurrency pioneer (Source: Getty Images)

As for potential competition for China’s digital yuan, McAfee is convinced the US is building their own version of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) at the moment. 

Some had viewed Facebook’s Libra Token as the US answer to China’s DCEP, but with regulators not giving an inch, this is looking less likely. McAfee was even less convinced at Libra’s future, boldly claiming that any US CBDC would cause Libra to be “abandoned”. 

The 74-year-old has long been critical of the Libra token. In November last year, he called the token an “abomination” as it was, “nothing but control.” McAfee had similar words about China’s DCEP calling it a tool for Chinese government control of its citizens. 

In fact, McAfee a former Libertarian Presidential candidate is suspicious of all government-backed CBDCs, no matter where they come from, saying: 

“Digital currencies allow governments to have greater control over individual and corporate finances – which means greater control over every aspect of the citizen’s lives.”

Clearly, McAfee is unimpressed with governments and companies which had controlled the current system entering the new digital age. The arrival of Bitcoin and blockchain was meant to herald a monetary system built away from banks and governments who had let us down so spectacularly in the 2008 crash. Now, this financial utopia many had pictured is under threat. 

The answer to this problem for McAfee is to keep trying to build that utopia and alternative system, focusing on what he believes to be core principles of financial freedom- decentralization and privacy. 

McAfee founded his decentralized exchange, McAfeeDEX in November last year. The exchange uses the Ethereum blockchain, where the Switchdex smart contract powers it. Listing is free on the site and anyone can add their coins to the platform. Prior to its release, McAfee proudly revealed its lack of control:

“(McAfeeDEX) Requires no name, no documents, no email, no bank info. Transaction details private. Nothing monitored. Nothing recorded. No restrictions. No listing fees. 0.25% transaction fees. Completely decentralized.”

Alongside his exchange, McAfee has teased a privacy token for citizens who want complete anonymity. The GHOST token launch was announced this month and a Whitepaper is promised for May 15th. 

The GHOST creation signifies a shift in mentality from McAfee. He has rolled back on his bullish Bitcoin price predictions and instead sees privacy as the most promising cryptocurrency category. When asked about future trends in the industry, “privacy” was his first answer alongside, distributed exchanges and stable coins. 

Yet, McAfee still knows that the future of the cryptocurrency industry is always in jeopardy, especially now that governments are increasingly entering the field. In perhaps a prophetic warning of what could be to come, McAfee revealed the thought that should be on the lips of all of us in the industry: “The question is: Will governments, including China, ban other digital currencies?”

A solemn reminder of the fragility in the cryptocurrency industry, from a man we would be wrong to dismiss.