McAfee tells Equibit they can call him 'King', but not CSO

John McAfee speaking at an event

Entrepreneur John McAfee has denied that he has been appointed as the security chief of a blockchain startup, after it named him chief security officer in a press release.

Toronto-based internet security firm Equibit announced yesterday that it had hired industry legend McAfee as CSO. But since that press release, McAfee has taken to Twitter to deny having any involvement with Equibit other than an as an advisor to the board of directors.

"Like many companies who ask for my advice, I give it freely," said McAfee, speaking to MobileSyrup. "Equibit wanted a more formal arrangement where they could call me from time to time for advice - the same as I do for everyone."

"They asked if they could title me chief security officer. I told them they could title me 'King' as far as I was concerned. At no time did they offer me money nor at any time did I ask for any money," added McAfee.

Equibit provides security for the safe transaction of shares, prevention of trade hacking, and handling of shareholder services through its de-centralised blockchain technology.

The security firm first announced the apparent appointment in a press release picked up by titles including Venture Beat. At the time, CEO Chris Horlacher said: "We're honoured and thrilled to be working with John McAfee. With his input and ongoing guidance, EDC will continue to set the security standard for blockchain services."

Fortune reported McAfee's press release statement as reading: "Equibit Development Corporation has positioned itself to become a major player in the blockchain development field focused on the financial sector. With my guidance and advice, I anticipate the company to experience stellar growth and achievements."

However, Horlacher has since stated that McAfee's role will be one of an "internal auditor", and will conduct "regular penetration testing of our software and infrastructure".

The story has since been widely reported across major news outlets, drawing the ire of both McAfee and his wife Janice.

"I'm a full-time CEO, how can I possibly spend months full-time doing PEN testing for a company? That's absurd. That's totally absurd," added McAfee, whose chief exec position is with the John McAfee Global Technologies investment fund.

McAfee told MobileSyrup that he already has identical advisor arrangements with 31 other companies across the globe.

IT Pro has approached EDC for clarification about its relationship with McAfee but has yet to receive a reply.

McAfee made his mark on the industry with the launch of McAfee and Associates in 1987, which was later sold to Intel for $7.68 billion. Rebranded Intel Security, its current owner is about to spin it off in a $4.2 billion private equity deal.

McAfee has since dabbled with a number of startups, but famously fled Belize in 2012 after he was cited as a person of interest in connection with the murder of a neighbour, although no charges were ever brought against him.

Recently McAfee made an unsuccessful move into US politics, losing a leadership election of the Libertarian Party to Gary Johnson.

Picture credit: NullSession on Flickr

Dale Walker

Dale Walker is the Managing Editor of ITPro, and its sibling sites CloudPro and ChannelPro. Dale has a keen interest in IT regulations, data protection, and cyber security. He spent a number of years reporting for ITPro from numerous domestic and international events, including IBM, Red Hat, Google, and has been a regular reporter for Microsoft's various yearly showcases, including Ignite.