How Ayahuasca fused with the crypto-counterculture

There is an intrinsic conflict between the psychedelic community, one which largely values introspection over consumption, and capital.

The American counterculture movements of the 1960s opposed social norms, were largely anti-capitalist and widely embraced the use of mind-altering drugs as a rejection of the status quo.

Now, after decades on the fringes of society, psychedelic-based medicines are on the verge of widespread adoption and the markets want a piece.

Payton Nyquvest, a co-founder of the B.C.-based psychedelic treatment-enabling organization Numinus, says psychedelics and its respective community shouldn’t be seen the way cannabis was in 2014.

“The psychedelic base is definitely concerned about the finance community trying to get in and take charge,” Nyquvest said.

It’s a different community, a different model, and Nyquvest says advocates for psychedelics don’t want to see these substances wind up in “some of the typical Vancouver ’rounders,” meaning deals which go nowhere and only generate a quick buck.

Similarly, cryptocurrency advocates have been found to be countercultural themselves, though more in terms of distrusting monopolized control of money supplies through central banks rather than societal norms.

A survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s Pro Market blog found “nearly a third of Bitcoin users express the lowest possible trust in the Federal Reserve Bank.”

Given how small the cohort of Bitcoin users is in this year’s FTI dataset, a simple difference in means test cannot verify this impact for the general population. However, this result—that among respondents to this survey Bitcoin users are around twice as likely as non Bitcoin users to say they do not trust the Federal Reserve at all—offers some preliminary evidence in support of the view that anti-government feeling is driving some Americans, most of them men, into the arms of cryptocurrencies.

Andrew Szmurlo, Samantha Eyler-Driscoll, and Linda Wu with the University of Chicago

It is no surprise then that these two disparate groups find overlap. Enter AyaCoin.

AyaCoin and an unlikely marriage

Though not an investment in the traditional sense, AyaCoin is the logical workaround the longstanding barriers to traditional investment in the psychedelic space.

AyaCoin is currently undertaking the first round of its initial token offering and its value, according the whitepaper, is generated in three ways:

  • Income from an investment property – a retreat center which will be used to organize retreats;
  • Profits from a cryptocurrency investment fund;
  • Income from the coin’s sponsoring company, AyaAdvisors, a plant medicine review website

The coin can also be redeemed for Ayahuasca, hotel and spa services at a retreat–to be purchased in Q4 2019–or donated to fund “plant medicine experiences.”

ayahuasca, crypto, blockchain, BCF.V, blockchain foundry, jag sidhu, psychedelic medicine, numimus
AyaCoin’s milestone’s and achievements. | Source:

The coin’s whitepaper states 5% of all profits generated by the project will be donated to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and 15% will go to the Bosque Medicinal project, an organization dedicated to preserving the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.

Whereas Bitcoin is essentially another avenue to store value, AyaCoin aims to provide an alternative means to invest in ecological conservation and alternative medicines for people who don’t have access to the public markets.

“A lot of people don’t have any choices, even to use the greenback or the Canadian,” added Alex Salkeld, a Canadian crypto advocate. “About two thirds of the world have no access to banking instruments. But now all they need is a basic cell phone and decent internet. As excited as we are about it, Bitcoin and crypto doesn’t affect the developed world nearly as much as it does the developing.”

–Alexander Lekhtman in Psymposia

Ayahuasca’s use in the fight against mental illness

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, while roughly one-third do not respond to at least three separate anti depressants.

But recent research shows certain psychedelics show promise as antidepressants to treatment resistant patients.

A 2018 study conducted by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte “found evidence of rapid antidepressant effect after a single dosing session with ayahuasca when compared with placebo.”

DMT, the active ingredient which causes hallucinations during Ayahuasca trips, is still a Schedule III drug in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Individuals found to be in possession of DMT are therefore “liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.”

AyaCoin: token or security?

Jag Sidhu, CTO of Blockchain Foundry (BCFN.C), said he had heard ideas for cryptocurrencies like AyaCoin before, but had never seen one so thoroughly developed.

Sidhu said it looked like a security “because it’s held in trust to earn dividends in expectation of profits while minority use cases around spending for utility in some cases on the resorts.”

“It’s pretty interesting that they have a profitable model already,” he added, referencing the company’s existing revenue streams from retreats and online website.

But Sidhu said there are still questions about the coin, its dividend structure and how payouts are supposed to occur.

Since the coin is tied to real world businesses, everything from diminishing property values to dwindling attendance could affect its value.

“Also, what enforces the payout, if it’s a centralized decision? What stops someone from forgetting or just stopping to pay them out since its not really regulated?”

The management team for AyaCoin are not verified on and the following warning appears:

Attention. There is a risk that unverified members are not actually members of the team.

Readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence before investing themselves.


–Ethan Reyes

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