What do John McAfee and Kim Dotcom have in common?
They're both notorious for being two of the biggest scoundrels in tech, and foreign nations (including the US, New Zealand, and Belize) have hunted both of them for crimes they deny. And now they're feuding online over MGT Capital, a mysterious tech firm of which McAfee is the CEO. Today, Dotcom accused the firm of offering him half a million dollars as part of a pump-and-dump stock scheme.
Some background: MGT broke into the news in May, when its share price shot up from 39 cents to more than $4 after McAfee — known best for founding the eponymous security company and fleeing police in Belize in 2012 after he was sought for questioning related to a murder — was named CEO.
Though the stock briefly outstripped Bank of America as the most traded equity on the market, it quickly attracted accusations of inflation as part of a pump-and-dump scheme, in which McAfee's splashy hire was intended to drive up the stock price. (A pump-and-dump scheme is fraud in which ownership encourages investors to buy shares in a company in order to drive up the price artificially, and then sells its shares while the price is high.)
Prior to the acquisition of the security startups Demonsaw and D-Vasive shortly after the McAfee hire, MGT had no investments in cybersecurity and was known primarily for its holdings in online betting. Both Demonsaw and D-Vasive were McAfee ventures prior to his involvement in MGT.
Then, today, Kim Dotcom — the flamboyant founder of the since-shuttered file sharing service Megaupload, who is wanted by the US government — tweeted that MGT had offered him $500,000 for a "no-substance partnership announcement," which is exactly what skeptics had accused McAfee of doing.
So what caused Kim's accusation?
Eijah is Eric Anderson, the founder of Demonsaw, who, according to more tweets from Dotcom, felt "afraid" of McAfee. Shortly after, Dotcom posted tweets from McAfee threatening "war," and later a video of him and Anderson together:
So what the hell is going on? It appears that Dotcom — who did not respond to a request for comment – poached one of McAfee's employees to help him start his file sharing follow-up, and cast aspersions on his company at the same time. MGT Capital hasn't responded to a request for comment, either.
McAfee is making his own accusations on Twitter now, too:
At least the two men are separated by an ocean.
Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.
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