John McAfee's latest gambit is mining Ethereum --  the cryptocurrency that's up nearly 4000% this year

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

MGT Capital, the company run by John McAfee, said it will start to mine Ethereum — the bitcoin rival that’s surged nearly 4000% this year — in it’s latest bid to turn a profit.

MGT, which is publicly traded over the counter, has mostly pitched itself to investors as a cybersecurity company. Cybersecurity is where McAfee made his mark as the founder of the anti-virus company that bears his name.

But McAfee has more recently started to tout cryptocurrencies. He said last month that investments in bitcoin will help put it back in the black by the end of the year.

Ethereum is like bitcoin in that it can be “mined” by computers that solve complex computations. MGT said Friday that it reached an agreement with Bit5ive LLC to buy up to 60 graphics processor-based mining computers to help mine for ether.

“We are more convinced each day of the growth and value of digital currencies, and our Company is uniquely positioned to be a leading provider of processing power to relevant blockchains,” McAfee said in the statement.

McAfee’s foray into the cryptocurrency space comes at a time when others have been sounding the alarm after a huge run-up in prices.

In early June, billionaire Mark Cuban said it was evident that bitcoin was a bubble by tweeting that “when everyone is bragging about how easy they are making $=bubble.”

Days later, Goldman Sachs warned that bitcoin was looking “heavy” and that a drop to between 2,330 and no lower than 1,915 was looking likely. Bitcoin put in a low of $US2,076 just a day later after the scaling debate came back into focus as the bitcoin-mining firm Bitmain outlined its “contingency plan” if a hard fork were to occur. Bitcoin has since recouped those losses and now trades at $US2,708.

Ethereum is up 3,964% so far in 2017. As for MGT, it’s stock is up 42% year-to-date.

Get the latest Bitcoin price here.

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