The Curious Bond between Crypto and Psychedelics
Is it a coincidence that my venture into plant medicine coincided with falling down the crypto rabbit hole? I doubt it.
It wasn’t the hallucinations or immersive experiences that connected the dots for me as much as it was the feeling that there were simple solutions to big problems, as long as we could look beyond the boundaries of ordinary reality. Extraordinary possibilities are all around us if we just take the time (or the mushrooms) to see them.
Let me give you a brief backstory. I had a career in non-traditional healthcare for nearly two decades before becoming a web3 professional. I am certified in massage, yoga, meditation, energy healing, mind-body medicine, and health coaching. I was smooth sailing for many years, serving thousands of patients and students in all kinds of environments from high-end retreat centers to rehabs to universities. Then the pandemic rocked my world. The explosion of disease and suffering, coupled with the shut-down and isolation, amplified the brokenness of the planet. All I could see was tragedy, instability, catastrophe and doom. I was sure that the Earth and all of the creatures on it were destined for extinction, and soon.
Once most of my hospitality and consulting work ceased, I had a good amount of downtime to self-educate and volunteer on various humanitarian projects. I started seeking solutions. I learned about eco-village projects, regenerative farms, and libertarian movements that proselytize decentralized power and self-governance. At first, I experienced cognitive dissonance — these ideologies and habits were in strong contrast to my capitalist mindset — but then I discovered a deep resonance that inspired me to go further.
About a year into my journey, I was living with a medicine woman in New Mexico and she introduced me to plant medicine. My cohort, at this point, had become a commune of people like me who were looking for a life outside of the pandemic panic and consumerist culture. After long days of building houses or harvesting vegetables, we would lie under the boundless sky, tripping on peyote or psilocybin, stripping away emotional baggage, expanding our consciousness, and discovering deeper truths about humanity and our future. It was enlightening, to say the least.
A few months later, while taking a permaculture course in Guatemala, my instructor was raving about cryptocurrency. I was suspicious and confused, what does this have to do with saving the planet? I wondered. Then I stumbled onto a finca in Dominican Republic that was using tokenomics for fundraising. Well, this is getting interesting, I thought. Finally, during an apprenticeship in Sebastian, FL, I met some very wealthy people who were moving much of their net worth into digital currency. OMG, I thought, this is serious.
As I dove down the rabbit hole of crypto, I immediately saw how blockchain was not only a means of decentralized power and self-governance — the values that I had been inheriting on my eco-journey — but it was also a catalyst for massive social and ideological change. Crypto advocates acknowledged that systems were broken AND they had a solution —create financial accessibility, equity and freedom for all. Is it idealistic? Sure. But isn’t all activism driven by bold, romantic ideas? You have to believe in a better world in order to create it. I had encountered similar dreams within the plant medicine community.
“Psychedelics often inspire people to want to make the world better — and it can’t get better until the major global issue of economy, and its system of being debt-orientated, is solved.” Jahan Khamsehzadeh, Ph.D.
In a few short months, I got certified by Wharton Upenn in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency and I started a full-time job as the COO of a Web3 media company. I have been completely immersed in crypto culture since January of 2022 and I continue to be transported to surreal places on a daily basis. While most content continues to be focused on market trends and financial fluctuations, I am curious about the esoteric aspects of the (re)emergence of psychedelics and democratized finance.
Five themes that stand out to me are:
- Ecstasy. In my previous blockchain article, I wrote about the dopamine rush of crypto lifestyle. “I’m buzzing with adrenaline as I lose one crypto virginity after another–my first NFT, my first bitcoin purchase, my first rave in the metaverse,” I said. The same is true of the ayahuasca journey I did last year. I was blissed to an extreme unlike any ordinary state of consciousness. Both crypto and psychedelics have intense affects on the psyche.
- Alternative Reality. Crypto is intended to meet humanity’s needs and desires for sovereignty and self-fulfillment. A world built on a decentralized blockchain is very different than the bureaucratic systems that currently exist. The same is true for psychedelics. We take the medicine because we crave cognitive freedom and emotional serenity. We want to move away from the ‘central point of control’ to a boundless experience.
- Transformation. Using blockchain technology not only alters our mindset, but it also changes our economic and social systems. Sometimes the change is good — like raising funds for a finca — and other times it is destructive. We’ve all heard the horror stories of scammers, hackers and other nefarious crypto characters. The same is true for hallucinogenic substances. A good trip can cure your PTSD and a bad one can be traumatizing.
- Rebellion. Cypherpunks and anarchists have been trying to create independent money for a more than 40 years. Hippies and spiritual seekers have been rejecting conventional values for even longer. We have to be pirates to embark on the crypto or the psychedelic journey. It’s risky. It’s counter-cultural. It exists on the margins of legality. We are rebels with a cause, and a fervor for the new age.
- Evolution. Humanity has been suffering long enough from archaic ways of thinking and being. Our insatiable consumption of resources is causing widespread disease, suffering, and destruction. Both crypto and psychedelics are a path forward. They give us the spiritual and material technologies to rebuild relationships with ourselves and our planet. We’ve had enough wake-up calls — we need to organize around these miraculous tools for healing and restoration.
I am eternally grateful for my journey, for the plants and the peer-to-peer networks that have given me new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for solving big problems, which hold an even bigger impact. I keep falling happily down the rabbit hole and discovering pretty trippy things along the way.