Did John McAfee Put a Dead Man's Switch on Ethereum?

Did John McAfee Put a Dead Man's Switch on Ethereum? - john mcafee 1024x702Rogue tech entrepreneur John McAfee was pronounced dead after committing suicide in his prison cell in Spain. Now rumors have emerged of a blockchain-based “Dead Man's Switch”.

Has McAfee posted a cryptographic key on Instagram?

Shortly after the news of McAfee's death, an image with the letter “Q” was posted on McAfee's Instagram account. Subsequently, the entire McAfee account, including the post, was deleted.

The letter "Q" was apparently a reference to the conspiratorial group QAnon. This has led some to believe that McAfee's death triggered a system that would have leaked secret government information.

Those who were able to access the image claimed that it contained an Ethereum address key. However, these claims were incorrect. The string started with FBMD, indicating that the text was Facebook metadata, as is standard throughout the site.

Although some have suggested that the metadata contained a blockchain key in hex code, there does not appear to be any meaningful data in the string when converted from hex code.

Did McAfee use Ethereum?

Others have drawn attention to recent activities related to McAfee's WHACKD token on the Ethereum blockchain (quotation ETH).

McAfee launched the WHACKD token in November 2019. At the time, he expressed the belief that he would be killed by government agents under the guise of suicide, similar to the conspiracy theories that emerged around Jeffrey Epstein's death in 2019.

Now, SwitchDex's Token Tracking Agreement for WHACKD has started receiving funds after long periods of inactivity. Some have speculated that these transactions may have been triggered by McAfee's death.

However, since the contract receives incoming funds, the related transactions were not necessarily executed at McAfee's request. It's possible that McAfee's death simply encouraged WHACKD token holders (or SwitchDex itself) to move funds.

It should also be noted that although the contract name is “Epstein,” this appears to simply be the name SwitchDEX chose for its contract, not an indication of any information about Epstein.

While it is conceivable that the transactions contain hidden data or were performed according to a pattern, it does not appear to be the case.

Blockchains are not practical for data storage

There is another simpler reason why the Ethereum blockchain is unlikely to be involved in a data leak.

Most blockchains cannot host large amounts of data. McAfee claimed it has 31 TB of government corruption data. The Ethereum ledger, however, contains less than half a terabyte of data.

While McAfee can use an Ethereum transaction to relay a link to its data leak's true location, doing so would be an unnecessary intermediate step to whatever distribution method it would choose to use.

In the unlikely event that McAfee intended to divulge information upon his death, the blockchain would certainly not carry out its entire plan.