Forbes: Mysterious Bitcoin Philanthropist Donated $1M To Psychedelic Research

Summary: Forbes reports on an anonymous cryptocurrency philanthropist who recently made a Bitcoin donation worth one million dollars to MAPS, highlighting that MAPS is “a new rising star in the charity world” and is “spearheading a movement to legalize psychedelics for therapeutic use.” This was in response to the Pineapple Fund’s recent donation to MAPS for one million dollars in Bitcoin. “After the Pineapple Fund’s donation, I expect even more notable and anonymous philanthropists will be giving to psychedelic research,” explains Gregory Ferenstein of Forbes.

Originally appearing here.

Someone made a ton of money investing in Bitcoin and has decided to become a philanthropic Santa Claus this holiday season, unexpectedly dropping tens of millions of dollars to a number of charities. Among those recipients is a new rising star in the charity world, MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which is spearheading a movement to legalize psychedelics for therapeutic use.

To some readers, the idea of psychedelic therapy may seem odd. For years, it’s been an obscure therapy and has only just begun to be talked about as a mainstream treatment.  

For instance, the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged that recent small-group studies with psychedelic-assisted therapy have been so profoundly effective at treating mental illness, it fast-tracked it as a rare “breakthrough” treatment; now, it may be legal to use MDMA (“XTC”) for clinical use as soon as 2021.

It took a long time to for MAPS to shed the stereotypes of psychedelics as an obscure, hippy medical treatment. Traditional public funding agencies weren’t helpful, so the group needed early backers to fund the research. They found help in the tech sector.

Psychedelics and Silicon Valley have a long history together; now that many of these technologists have garnered wealth, they’re paying back their respects by aiding MAPS in its long-time quest to get psychedelics accepted in the broader medical community.

For instance, Vice has a great feature on noted venture capitalist and philanthropist George Sarlo, who used psychedelics to overcome his own trauma as a holocaust survivor. As for this latest new donor, little is known about the Pineapple Fund, which just says that it isn’t seeking publicity and wants to donate the majority of its newfound wealth to worthy causes. MAPS has to raise several more million dollars to fund the Phase III research trials, the last step required before psychedelics will become legal for (limited clinical) use in America.

Regardless, given recent trends in Silicon Valley giving, when a mysterious bitcoin philanthropic fund dropped an astoundingly generous $1M to MAPS, it wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary. I follow a lot of political and charitable giving out here in the Valley; I’ve rarely seen an organization that is as beloved as MAPS.

After the Pineapple Fund’s donation, I expect even more notable and anonymous philanthropists will be giving to psychedelic research.