McAfee's bitcoin mining operation

Tuesday 05 July 2016

In this guest post, Technology is Key's Angus Leung summarises what we know about the antivirus giant’s entry into mining.

After John McAfee, creator of the McAfee antivirus software and Libertarian Party candidate, took on the role of MGT Capital Investments’ Executive Chairman and CEO, he has completely turned the company’s goal towards using Blockchain technology to improve cyber-security.


The controversial anti-virologist is positioning to take advangtage of the coming wave of blockchain applications (Wikimedia)

On June 30th, MGT Capital Investments Inc announced in a press release that they are planning to initiate a bitcoin mining operation using hydro power in Washington State that will generate over 2 PetaHash of mining power. The mining facility will be expandable to support a maximum of 10 PetaHash of mining equipment.

According to the press release by MGT, they might be using the latest 16 nanometer ASIC mining chips, which will allow the facility to function more effectively and result in better profit. This implies that MGT might be using the mining facility not only as a way to show off the company’s significant interest in blockchain technology but as a source of revenue. With the unprecedented mix of hydro power and 16 nm ASIC chips, estimated profit for the operation is substantial.

‘This significant commitment to an in-house mining facility also prepares MGT for the increased processing demands of the many new Blockchain technologies on the horizon. As the demand for transaction processing grows, the Company can redirect its mining machines towards supporting other tasks on the Blockchain,’ stated the press release.

With less than a week before the bitcoin block reward halving and resulting fluctuations in Difficulty, MGT will have to compete with mining pools such as Slush’s Pool’s 80 PetaHash combined power. But there is one key difference between MGT’s operation and regular mining pools: low cost hydro power. Hydro-Power has never properly been used for running full mining facilities, so the energy usage might result in higher profitability given hydro’s low cost-per-KiloWatt.

‘Our announced strategy is particularly cost effective, as mining computers are perfectly suited for this task and can earn a great ROI until we utilize the processing power of these super-fast machines to support the future revenue streams of our products,’ said McAfee.

Since McAfee has taken the helm of MGT, he has recruited several bitcoin and blockchain experts such as owner of, Roger Ver, and’s CEO, Erik Voorhees, who will most likely be McAfee’s advisers in the field of security through blockchains and may provide advice on how to maximize the mining operation’s hashrate and profit.

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