Last week, in what many has called an unprovoked attack, cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee called for a boycott of the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC, reputed for being one of the world`s largest exchanges and with daily trading volumes of well over $270 million.
McAfee tweeted: “The crypto exchanges have become the thing that we have originally fought against. Their power is immense. Hitbtc, for example, has increased suffering for millions of poor people who cannot afford the minimum buy-in since it is greater than their monthly income, Boycott them.”
It is quite unclear the exact aspect of cryptocurrency exchange transactions McAfee was ranting about. However, it appears he was expressing concern regarding the mandatory withdrawal fees charged by cryptocurrency exchanges when customers remove their assets from cryptocurrency exchange platforms. This is a widely known industry practice; hence HitBTC is only one of the many exchanges that slap fees on withdrawals.
Reports show that McAfee who has in the recent past claimed to have escaped an assassination attempt on his life persisted in his attacks on HitBTC throughout the weekend as he vowed to be cryptocurrency exchange`s “worst enemy” until the crypto exchange giant puts in place proactive and pragmatic measures to address what some have called ‘unspecified issue.’
John McAfee minced no words as he asserted that HitBTC’s withdrawal fees have “killed people.” In what could pass as a diplomatic rebuttal, HitBTC issued a formal response to McAfee`s allegations on Saturday, expressing gratitude to him for taking the “discourse to another level” and explaining the company’s policy on calculating withdrawal fees. The exchange further invited him to convey his advice on how to implement an “algorithmic solution” that would render its withdrawal fees less subject to the price volatility of the associated assets. “Thank you for being the voice of the crypto community! We share your values!” the note concluded.
It appears McAfee wasn`t going to back down on his assertions and basically rubbished their response. He stated: “Your algorithm killed an unknown number of people. You tell me what algorithm recompenses these deaths. You have unjustly subgected Docademic [sic]. Tell me sir what do you owe to them? Docademic deserves your highest priority to make things just for your past offenses.”
While it’s possible that McAfee — who until recently charged $105,000 per tweet to promote initial coin offerings (ICO) — is truly concerned about the plight of HitBTC’s less-fortunate customers, the saga appears to be a dramatic ploy to plug Docademic, an ICO token referenced throughout his tweetstorm.
In spite of McAfee insistence that he would no longer promote ICOs due to pressure from U.S. regulators, he has been shilling this token on his Twitter account for several weeks, even claiming that it could hit $10 per unit by next year, up from a present value of $0.25. In one of McAfee`s tweets he admitted he had investments in Docademic. It however remains unclear whether or not McAfee is paid for his many favourable tweets about Docademic.
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