McAfee accused of plagiarism with Ghost Coin
McAfee accused of plagiarism with Ghost Coin

McAfee accused of plagiarism with Ghost Coin

By Marco Cavicchioli - 20 May 2020

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John McAfee has been accused of having copied the whitepaper of his Ghost Coin from other similar projects. 

About a month ago the well-known influencer announced the imminent launch of a new cryptocurrency with a high level of privacy, called Ghost, based on Proof of Stake and with the aim of rendering ghosts the users who will use it to make online transactions. 

Recently the whitepaper was published, but it raised several doubts. 

The accusations of plagiarism come from PIVX, another high-level privacy cryptocurrency that was born several years ago as a fork of Dash

The PIVX team writes: 

“As an expert, dedicated team that has been pioneering and tirelessly developing a privacy centric Proof of Stake blockchain since 2016, PIVX is extremely disappointed to see John McAfee and Ghost blatantly plagiarizing the Sept 2018 PIVX whitepaper”. 

At this point, the tweet continues with a long list of points from the Ghost whitepaper that more or less literally echo those of the PIVX whitepaper

According to the statement, it’s quite evident that, if anything, the Ghost team has at least taken a lot of inspiration from the PIVX whitepaper

In fact, as many as 20 of the 26 pages of the Ghost whitepaper contain material also present in the 2018 PIVX whitepaper, to the point that it is even hypothesized that Ghost could actually be a PIVX fork. 

All this has been confirmed by the Ghost team itself, which stated that just as PIVX is a Dash fork, Ghost is a PIVX fork

They also confirmed that they have taken inspiration from their website and whitepaper for some aspects of the new project, and have included many of the PIVX concepts and ideas in their whitepaper. 

In the end, John McAfee himself intervened and confirmed that it was a fork, saying

“The GHOST controversy is storm in a teacup. Forking an existing blockchain is a common occurrence, ex: Bitcoin to BTC, etc.

The developers of the original blockchain always kick up a fuss. It’s the way of the world.

This is a triviality folks. Get over it”.

To close the matter, he then posted another tweet in which he says: 

“My final tweet in the GHOST controversy:

PIVX is attempting to claim that their source code is Public Domain, but that the description of how it all works (The White Paper) is not!

Then what f*cking good is Open Source if the documentation is not included?

What scam is this?” 

Then he also added: 

“Claiming a product is open source while withholding the documentation is fraud. Pure and simple. I will soon demonstrate that in the courts.

Lawsuit coming for defamation”.

The issue might not be settled, and might even have legal implications, although the lack of success of the PIVX project over the years would suggest that they might not have the resources to take legal action against McAfee and the Ghost team. 

However, it must also be said that McAfee is currently in voluntary exile, and cannot return to the US to file a lawsuit. Although he might be able to file a lawsuit in other countries. 

Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli

Class 1975, Marco teaches web-technologies and is an online writer specializing in cryptocurrencies. He founded, and his YouTube channel has more than 25 thousand subscribers.

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