Editor's Pick 08-05-2024 18:19 10 Views

High on Ayahuasca: Bitcoin-promoting Commencement Speaker Lands in Hot Water

A US university commencement speaker for the class of 2024, entrepreneur Chris Pan, said he was high on ayahuasca while writing his speech, which, among other things, promoted Bitcoin and crypto.

The Ohio State University is a public research university in Columbus, Ohio, United States.

The Commencement – the ceremony for conferring degrees or diplomas – was held on May 5.

The person chosen to deliver a speech to the gathered students, families, and other attendees was Chris Pan.

This apparently did not go well, and Pan was heavily criticized.

So what did he say?

‘Bitcoin is a Misunderstood Asset Class’

The 17-minute-long speech started as one would expect, but then moved to singing, swaying, waving, and – Bitcoin.

At one point, Pan discussed financial literacy. He argued that to own a home and live comfortably, saving is not enough. One must learn to invest.

“Great investors are open-minded and understand things before other people,” he said.

“So I know this might feel polarizing, but I encourage you to keep an open mind right now. I see Bitcoin as a very misunderstood asset class.”

The audience, however, did not react well, and some even booed him.

Pan sighed and continued, saying that BTC is decentralized and finite.

He also argued that crypto exchanges “previously” had security issues but that this was “resolved” with the recent launch of the Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Anyone can hold these funds in their retirement account, he said, proceeding to do a “demo.” Granted, “the magic tick” failed to have the desired effect.

What (Not) to Drink When Writing a Speech

A week ago, on his LinkedIn profile, Pan wrote that he was actually high when writing a speech.

He drank ayahuasca, a plant-based psychedelic that affects the senses, altering a person’s thinking, sense of time, and emotions, as the Alcohol and Drug Foundation explains.

It has been long used by First Nations peoples from contemporary Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador for religious ritual and therapeutic purposes.

Pan wrote in his post that he:

“Got some help from AI (Ayahuasca Intelligence) this week to write my commencement speech for 60k grads and family members at Ohio State University next Sunday. We are in challenging times – wanted something extra heartfelt. (Tried chatGPT but wasn’t that good).”

And while many in the industry would not see much wrong with his BTC part of the speech, taken in totality, it left a lot to be desired.

Alumni, parents, peers, graduates, and others heavily criticized Pan in the post’s comments.

They said that they were highly disappointed and that the scattered speech sounded like an ad for crypto and Pan’s business.

One person did like it, though, arguing that people will eventually recognize that Pan “was actually giving the best and most valuable advice to the OSU students […] as Bitcoin is the hope and future for human being.”

Meanwhile, the university’s website describes Pan as a social entrepreneur, musician, and inspirational speaker.

Pan graduated from Ohio State in 1999. He worked for PepsiCo and Facebook, and then he founded his bracelet-making company, MyIntent.

It also noted that Pan’s umbrella organization, SpiritLab, “promotes spiritual health and growth through experimentation.”

You can watch the full Bitcoin part of the speech below (minutes 5-8):

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