The SEC crackdown on ICOs has, apparently, finally extended to one of the industry's most enthusiastic and prolific promoters: former software security pioneer John McAfee, who has earned a reputation for outrageous behavior (including promising in July 2017 to eat his dick on national television if bitcoin doesn't hit $500,000 in three years) in recent years.
McAfee, who hasn't been affiliated with his namesake company since 1994 and lost most of a fortune once worth $100 million in the years since the crisis, was at one point pitching a new ICO every day. And since before last year's boom, McAfee has been a regular on the cryptocurrency conference circuit and is part of what Bloomberg calls "a vast network of social media influences" who have helped ICOs raise billions.
In his characteristic voice, McAfee said the SEC had warned him about recommending ICOs, forcing him to step aside, despite declaring the treatment "unjust."
"Due to SEC threats, I am no longer working with ICOs nor am I recommending them, and those doing ICOs can all look forward to arrest," McAfee wrote from his verified Twitter account, which has more than 820,000 followers. "It is unjust but it is reality. I am writing an article on an equivalent alternative to ICOs which the SEC cannot touch. Please have Patience."
Due to SEC threats, I am no longer working with ICOs nor am I recommending them, and those doing ICOs can all look forward to arrest. It is unjust but it is reality. I am writing an article on an equivalent alternative to ICOs which the SEC cannot touch. Please have Patience.— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) June 19, 2018
The SEC has declared that ICO tokens are securities which must be registered with the SEC and follow all applicable securities laws.
However, the agency recently clarified that trades in ethereum tokens are not subject to securities laws - clearing the way for ether futures. In one example of behavior to which the SEC might object, back in March, MacAfee tweeted a link to a website that showed he charged $105,500 per tweet to promote ICOs and other products.