John McAfee recently spoke at the Barcelona Blockchain Week conference in Barcelona, Spain, where he compared attempts to restrict cryptocurrency use to prohibition-era attempts to curb alcohol use.
With his signature rebellious enthusiasm and anti-authority rhetoric, McAfee began his speech by suggesting that any government employees should go “take a stiff drink or go play pool” because they won’t like what he has to say. He went on to praise cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for their ability to empower people and threaten government control, highlighting how they were developed by normal people rather than government agencies or large tech companies.
“Governments are just now starting to see the blockchain and cryptocurrency as an opportunity or threat or something to fear and it is all of those,” he said. “We are rapidly approaching an era where people versus government becomes a worldwide phenomenon.”
McAfee was in attendance largely to promote his upcoming decentralized exchange platform, the McAfee DEX, which was launched two weeks ago but is still in beta mode. He says the platform should be fully functional in about six months’ time and that crypto projects will not have to pay to be listed on the DEX, unlike with most popular centralized exchanges these days. He went on to note how using cryptocurrencies on a decentralized exchange means users can circumnavigate government financial controls like taxes, which he believes are unconstitutional.
“In my mind income taxes, at least in America, are illegal. They’re unconstitutional and until 1913 we didn’t have them. Nevertheless, today’s income tax is the majority of the United States revenue source.”
Comparisons to prohibition
Speaking about attempts by governments around the world to legislate or prohibit cryptocurrencies, McAfee compared their use to the use of alcohol during the early 90’s prohibition era in the U.S. During the time, alcohol was illegal to buy, sell or possess, and yet during the period more people than ever allegedly used alcohol. McAfee feels that something like cryptocurrency is similar and that making it illegal won’t stop people from using it.
“You cannot legislate away something that the majority of the population, or even if a small minority, say 5% of the population, is doing something, you can’t stop it,” he concluded.
Barcelona Blockchain Week is an annual event that started last year and enjoyed attendance from over 11,000 blockchain enthusiasts, businessmen, entrepreneurs, educators and investors from around the world.