THIRD WAVE PODCAST
Decentralized Intelligence Networks: Bitcoin, Psychedelics, and Mycelium
What do the ancient mysteries of psychedelics have to do with the modern technology of cryptocurrency? There are several surprising similarities, including global interconnectedness, the move toward personal freedom and sovereignty, and long-term sustainability. In this episode, Paul Austin talks with Brandon Quittem, entrepreneur and enthusiastic Bitcoiner, about the curious overlaps between psychedelics, the mycelium network, Bitcoin, the healthcare system, original American values, and the empowerment of the entire world.
Brandon Quittem is an entrepreneur, writer, and speaker broadly focused on the intersection between biology and technology. He believes Bitcoin is an evolutionary catalyst with untold potential. His articles have been read by more than 2 million people online, and he is most well known for exploring Bitcoin through the lens of decentralized network organisms such as mycelium. Brandon is currently building Swan Bitcoin, the easiest way to buy and accumulate Bitcoin in the US.
This episode is brought to you by the Integrative Psychiatry Institute, which just launched a great program for licensed medical and mental health professionals. In this year-long online course, IPI will train you to become a Certified Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Provider (PATP). This is an awesome opportunity for licensed therapists and counselors, clinical psychologists, doctors, and nurses interested in accelerating their therapy practice with the power of psychedelic medicine. Plus, as a member of the Third Wave community, you may qualify for course discounts. Just go to https://psychiatryinstitute.com/thirdwave/ and book a call to apply.
This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens, the daily drink for a healthier you. Whether you’re looking for peak performance or better overall health, Athletic Greens makes investing in your energy, immunity, and gut health simple, tasty, and efficient. With 75 vitamins, minerals, whole food source ingredients, green superfood blend, and more, Athletic Greens fills the nutritional gaps in your diet and improves energy, focus, and mood. Right now, they’re offering a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. Just go to athleticgreens.com/thirdwave and start making a daily commitment to your health.
- How Brandon became interested in both Bitcoin and psychedelics.
- What is Bitcoin, and why is it useful?
- The problem with our current standard of “political money”.
- Why the US went off the Gold Standard in 1971.
- What are mycelium networks, and what do they have in common with Bitcoin?
- Is it even possible to “kill” Bitcoin?
- How Bitcoin overlaps with original American values.
- What happens when countries try to ban Bitcoin.
- The shift towards decentralization in currency, work, psychedelics, and more.
- Bitcoin and psychedelics as a tool for sovereignty and freedom.
- Psychedelics as a deconditioning and empowerment tool.
- What we can learn from the Cavendish banana.
- “The Fourth Turning,” and how it relates to new cryptocurrency and psychedelic technology.
0:00:00.0 Paul Austin: Welcome to The Third Wave Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin, here to bring you cutting edge interviews with leading scientists, entrepreneurs and medical professionals who are exploring how we can integrate psychedelics in an intentional and responsible way for both healing and transformation. It is my honor and privilege to bring you these episodes as you get deeper and deeper into why these medicines are so critical to the future of humanity. So let’s go and let’s see what we can explore and learn together in this incredibly important time.
0:00:37.7 PA: Hey listeners, this episode is brought to you by the Integrative Psychiatry Institute, who recently launched a certification program for mental health professionals in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Upon successfully completing this year-long online training, you’ll become a certified psychedelic-assisted therapy provider. Now, this program is run by a good friend of mine, Will Van Derveer, who has also been in the podcast before, Will has been studying integrative medicine for almost 20 years now, and some incredible guest faculty are involved, including Rick Doblin and Gabor Maté. Be sure to go over to psychiatryinstitute.com/thirdwave and schedule a discovery call to apply. Spaces are limited, so be sure to apply soon. This is a great opportunity for therapists, clinical psychologists, doctors and nurses who are interested in accelerating their therapy practice with the power of psychedelic medicine.
0:01:39.0 PA: You will also have the opportunity for a hands-on experience with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Again, go to psychiatryinstitute.com/thirdwave and schedule your discovery call to apply. Today’s Third Wave Podcast is brought to you by Athletic Greens, the most comprehensive daily nutritional beverage that I’ve ever tried. Let’s roll back about a year ago, COVID had just hit… I was working with a coach and mentioned, I’m having a hard time just getting greens in my day-to-day, and he basically was like, “Go try Athletic Greens.” And I was like, “That’s such a good idea.” So I’ve been consistently doing Athletic Greens, usually in the morning, first thing with a little collagen protein, and it just helps with focus, clarity, mood, because there are so many stressors in life right now it’s been difficult to maintain effective nutritional habits. And so in order to give my body the nutrients it needs to thrive, I just felt like athletic greens could totally help and it’s a life-changing nutritional habit. Their daily all-in-one superfood powder is your nutritional essential. It is by far the easiest and most delicious, and that’s important, it actually tastes pretty good that you can add to your daily routine today and empower yourself towards better habits.
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0:03:17.6 PA: So if you’re interested in getting on board, Athletic Greens is currently doubling down on supporting your immune system during this time, they’re offering Third Wave’s audience a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase if you visit our link today. So starting 2021 with a simple sustainable nutritional habit is Athletic Greens MO. So whether you’re looking for peak performance or better health, covering your bases with Athletic Greens makes investing in your energy, immunity and gut health each day simple, tasty and efficient. So just visit athleticgreens.com/thirdwave and join health experts, athletes and health-conscious go-getters around the world who make a daily commitment to their health every day. Again, athleticgreens.com/third wave, and get your free year supply of vitamin D and the five free travel packs today.
0:04:15.5 PA: Hey, listeners, and welcome back to Third Wave podcast, on today’s show, we have Brandon Quittem, who is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and passionate Bitcoiner. Brandon is currently building swanbitcoin.com, and his articles have been read by more than two million people online. He is best known for exploring the parallels between Bitcoin and Mycelium, taking complex information and turning it into simple and actionable intelligence. And I brought Brandon on the show today to discuss this parallel between Bitcoin and Mycelial networks and how that relates to the emerging psychedelic space, and we’ll also get into a few other meta threads throughout our conversation, so Brandon, welcome to the podcast.
0:04:58.4 Brandon Quittem: Hey, thanks for having me. I’m very much looking forward to this. I see psychedelia and the Bitcoin community as natural allies, and I also see them as a really, really important foundation for our species frankly.
0:05:11.0 PA: The evolution of our species. So before we dive really deep into the deep end, what I’d love to start with for our listeners, is just a little background and context about who you are, so that helps to create a framework for our conversation about why you’re so passionate about Bitcoin and psychedelics, Mycelial intelligence. So where is your… Where does your story start, what is the origin of your interest in this topic?
0:05:36.1 BQ: Yeah, absolutely, so I’m a wide interest kinda guy, classic Gemini archetype, and so I’m all over the place. In one hand, I’m a business person, I always have been, starting and building businesses, spent some time in corporate America, selling enterprise software for Oracle, simultaneously getting into mycology and foraging and wild foods and lots of naturalist stuff, hiking, camping, backpacking and such. And so I kind of always have those two sides of me going and around… Let’s see, I got into psychedelics around 22, so about a decade ago, again, parallel paths between corporate and that side of me. I kinda got fed up with the corporate path, things were going well, but I realized, “I don’t think this is what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of my life.”
0:06:20.7 BQ: So I hit pause on the corporate stuff, went through a yoga teacher training. Through that experience, I realized, “Okay, I don’t have to be that tough business guy at all times.” There’s this other side of me that I’d like to explore, and that kind of gave me the courage to kind of, kill the boy and grow into the man, so I left the corporate side, wife and I started an online business, teaching yoga instructors and wellness instructors business skills. So how to build a business, how to market yourself, how to build a website, stuff like that.
0:06:51.9 BQ: Yeah, so we traveled for five years going around building that business, helping yoga teachers learn business skills, then in about 2017, fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, had bumped into it a few times prior, but it finally stuck in 2017. And at that point, I realized that this is really important. This is going to be the next foundational layer of society, or the next monetary layer of society, and so at that point, I started to divest out of the yoga business. I’ve since sold those businesses and pretty much went all in on the Bitcoin thing, and it’s primarily because I think it’s the most important thing I can be doing with my time. And I also think I naturally pick this stuff up and it’s been going well, and during that process of learning about Bitcoin, again, with this mycology background, I started to notice that this Bitcoin network has many similar characteristics as what a Mycelial network has.
0:07:45.6 BQ: And Terence McKenna had drawn parallels between the Internet and Mycelium, many other people have, and so once those two worlds sort of overlaid with each other, I felt very confident in the path and no turning back from there. And so in the Bitcoin space, I’ve done lots of writing and speaking, I publish those things on my personal website, and I also work for a Bitcoin startup now helping people on board to Bitcoin, this might be a good starting point.
0:08:13.4 PA: Let’s go right into what Bitcoin is, so Bitcoin is something that I’ve been aware of largely because I wanted to buy illegal drugs on the dark web in 2016, it was, that’s when I purchased my first Bitcoin. After a little bit of a botched attempt at doing that, I decided, well, I’m not gonna keep trying this, I’ll just hold on to the Bitcoin and sort of forgot about it probably for about a year or two. In 2018, amidst… This is sort of after Bitcoin hit its initial peak at 19K, 20K, and then dropped back down, I bought back in or I bought even more in 2018, and then held on to it until I recently sold a significant portion of it just to cover some immediate expenses. So I have enough familiarity with Bitcoin to utilize it and purchase it and kinda have a sense of it, but I’m by no means an expert on this topic which is obviously why you’re here, so I’d love if you could just sort of give the basic overview of what is Bitcoin, is it just online money? Why is Bitcoin useful? And let’s just start there. What is Bitcoin and why is it useful?
0:09:26.6 BQ: It seems like an easy question, but it’ll probably be a mouthful. So the simple answer is Bitcoin is money that lives on the internet and… Okay. Well, why does that matter? So first of all, money is the base protocol of society, what money does is it’s just a tool that accounts for the work and the labor that we’ve provided to the economy, so I provide value to the economy and the economy rewards me with this token of my value that I created. So more value created, more money tokens in my hand, and that’s at the individual level. If you zoom out to the societal level, you can imagine millions of people screwing around the world, how do you know what to do with your time? How do you know what’s valuable to society? Well, money and the price or the value of your time, that’s sort of an accounting system that tells you you did a good job, or that society values your time.
0:10:16.9 BQ: Okay, so it is this base thing and all the political games that we play live on top of this thing, and over time, we’ve had many forms of money, we’ve had shells and salt and beads, and then we had a long period of mostly metal, silver and gold, etcetera, and then in the 1900s, we sort of left the gold standard and we created what’s now called the Fiat standard, which is essentially that the government creates the money, and there’s no scarcity backing the money, so you can just think of a political money, which is what our current dollars, euros and yen are today.
0:10:50.1 BQ: Okay, so is there a problem with that? On one hand, no, the state has control, we’re already subservient anyway, so what’s the big deal? Sure. On the other hand, this highly politicized money, this extension of the state money, it actually causes all these perversions in the market. What the state does is it picks winners and losers, it bails out their buddies at the expense of the little guy, and the whole system is based on printing more and more money into the future and printing new money effectively de-values or de-bases the savings accounts of all of the individuals, and it pushes the asset prices up, so that’s the incentive mechanism. What that does is wealthy people who own assets become wealthier and normal people who earn wages actually become less wealthy over time. And you can look at this through charts, we fully came off the gold standard in 1971, there’s this great website, WTF happened in 1971 that just shows all these charts and data of what happened once we left that, and so what Bitcoin is, it’s actually a representation of money going back to the people, and I like to say this in the same sense that is Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it back to the people.
0:12:05.3 BQ: Right now, the people have this incredible power, it’s very good for the people. Satoshi Nakamoto, the man or a group who created Bitcoin, he stole money out of the government or out of central banks, and he brought it back to the people. And you can think of BitCoin as there are rules, but no rulers. So it’s this totally open monetary network, it’s an open source protocol, anyone in the world can plug in, and it’s not strong as the weakest link, it’s as strong as the strongest link, meaning everyone who joins the network is additive. And so over time, what I expect will happen is a Bitcoin-type monetary system will out-compete the state monetary system, because just like open source software, out competes corporate software, same things gonna happen with Bitcoin. And it’s growing very fast. It’s been about 12 years since inception, it’s already over a trillion dollars, it’s bringing in bigger and stronger allies every day, governments are adopting it, corporations are adopting it. And I think ultimately, a world with Bitcoin as an asset is very good for humanity. What it does is it actually empowers the individual in a personal sovereignty sense, so that I control the money, I do not need to trust my bank or my government in order to transact with you.
0:13:26.5 BQ: I bought a chicken from you. I give you some Bitcoin, there doesn’t need to be a bank, there doesn’t need to be a government spying on all the transactions, we can just use software… As clever monkeys that we are, we can use software now and exchange peer-to-peer. So that’s how I see Bitcoin. We can go many different ways, but start with that.
0:13:47.0 PA: Well, let’s start by diving a little bit into why the United States went off the gold standard in 1971, I feel like that’s a great starting point, and as a preface for this, a few years ago, I read a fantastic book by David Graeber called Debt: The First 5000 Years of Money, in which he laid out a really compelling argument around how debt is a result of countries needing to wage war, and then they would have to take on debt to be able to wage war, ’cause it’s essentially a leverage point to be able to collect more physical resources and what we’re sort of entering now in terms of the period, and we’ll get more into this towards the latter half of the conversation, but what we’re entering now is sort of this period where war is not necessarily physical anymore, but it’s through software, it’s through hacking, it’s through other things like that. So I just wanna leave that as a note, and then I’m sure that’ll kind of surface back around and in your explanation as to, why did the US go off the gold standard in 1971, and how has the US controlled the global money supply through the Central Bank since that point in time?
0:14:57.9 BQ: Yeah, great question. I think that’s all super important, so we could start back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, where we had a full Gold reserve, and then in World War I, we had a soft gold reserve. Essentially suspended the gold reserve, created the Federal reserve as a consequence of needing money in World War I. Then at the end of World War II, we had Bretton Woods system, which was essentially all the gold in the world ended up in the United States, essentially hiding it from the Nazis in Germany trying to steal all the gold, so they brought it all to the United States, the US has the gold. Now they’re having the Bretton Woods agreement, which is a meeting amongst world leaders, and they say, “Okay, what’s the new monetary system?” What won out was the Bretton Woods system, which we call it now, which is essentially the US owns all the gold, and then the US dollar is a token for gold, and everyone else can use dollars as if they’re good for gold. Again, incrementally coming off this gold standard, which gives more power to the state, and then in ’71 people started to say, “Hey, wait a minute, the US is printing so much money, do they actually have the gold that they say they do to back up the currency?” And it was France who initially said, “Hey, give us our gold back,” and then other people said, “Give us our gold back.”
0:16:12.7 BQ: And then Nixon said, “Hey, sorry, we’re not giving you the gold back and we’re gonna do a new monetary system,” which we now call the petrodollar system, and to your point there, again, just steps away from the gold standard giving more power to the US Government, and what they do now is they use this Fiat currency petrodollar system as a tool for control around the world. All the stuff in the Middle East, that has to do with our power as the world reserve currency of the dollar being used for political games. And what this does is it actually hurts people abroad, and it also hurts the middle class in America, because having the global reserve currency means that we’re essentially exporting jobs in exchange for cheap goods coming here, and so we sort of hollowed out the middle class. Yeah, okay, we get cheap crap from China, but we exported all our jobs, so it’s actually a net negative for our society. And so the take-away here is that monetary systems need a basis in scarcity, and gold is a scarce commodity, we only find about 2%… There’s about 2% inflation of gold every year, so out of the total existing above ground supply, we find about 2% each year.
0:17:27.5 BQ: So relative scarce asset, and what that does is it sort of puts a restraint on government spending because they need to account for the amount of gold they have, so that forces them to decide what to spend their money on, and governments have two ways to raise money, number one, they raise money through taxes, you have taxes, your income tax, your cap gains, property tax, whatever, that’s one way to raise money, and that is an explicit tax, everyone knows about that tax, it’s very clear what you spend. The other type of tax is through inflation, and this is the primary benefit of coming off a gold standard. So when the government prints new money, they can do whatever they want with it, but they didn’t have to work for that money, right, and if they’re in debt, they just print more money. Whereas as an individual, if we have debts, we have to pay them back or we go bankrupt. The government doesn’t have that restraint, and so… Yeah, so that’s gold leaving and now the government has unlimited money, and what does that do? They can have never-ending wars in the Middle East, they can do whatever they want.
0:18:31.2 BQ: And Bitcoin again, is this restraining factor. If we just just… Deus Ex Machina, made a Bitcoin system… A financial system built on BitCoin, there’s only 21 million. There’s this fixed supply and no one can inflate the currency. So again, it forces governments to act in good faith, and it forces them to, if they wanna spend money, fine, they have to tax it. They have to ask the citizens for the money instead of stealing it with this covert tax called inflation, and that makes a much more honest relationship with individual and state, and it also makes a relationship where we’re not cattle forced into our little area, instead we are more like customers with our state. And so now our states or countries will compete for who can give us the best service, and now that our money is digital and we can work remotely, again, thanks to technology, individuals and our capital are mobile.
0:19:25.5 BQ: And so if we don’t like our state, we don’t like our country, we can go to another state or another country, and we’re seeing this play out in the US right now, due to the aftermath of COVID, we’re seeing the mayor, Francis Suarez, in Miami recruiting the Tech Hub there. You see Austin, Texas, driving people in. Wyoming’s passing new laws. Lots of people are passing Bitcoin laws, Portugal got rid of capital gains. All these states are gonna compete for our capital, both for our money and our intellectual capital. And what happens with that is again, symmetry between individual and state… And when the states compete, individuals win, and I think that’s a much better future when there is a little bit of restraint and a little bit more reciprocity.
0:20:07.1 PA: Yeah, it’s really looking at what the future is with networked states, with the re-localization of governance, with… I love how you put it, states now need to compete for the citizens, that are the producers, that have the money, that can actually support them rather than the citizens competing for specific states. And I’m so glad that you brought up the inflation thing as well, because clearly, we’ve witnessed this in the COVID-19 era where the US government just passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, they’re looking at, I think another $2-3 trillion infrastructure package, and I watched a great YouTube video a few months ago that essentially said by the end of this decade, the debt of the United States will be upwards of $100 trillion, right now I think it’s between 25 and 30 trillion. So there’s just gonna be printing more and more and more money and Bitcoin acts as that hedge against hyperinflation, which a lot of folks are worried and concerned about. So I wanna, with that part of our conversation, I just wanna go ahead and set it to the side briefly and start to take pieces from it and weave it into Mycelium networks, and I’d love if, independent of Bitcoin, what are Mycelium networks? How do they help with de-centralizing energy? And then what are the parallels between Mycelial networks and the emergence of Bitcoin as a currency?
0:21:47.8 BQ: Oh man, one of my favorite topics. So Fungi 101, super quick for the uninitiated. There are many different kingdoms in biology, we have plants and animals, and we have fungi as well, several others, but the point is, fungi have their own kingdom. There’s more biodiversity and fungi and plants and animals combined, they have all different shapes and forms, they’re billions of years old. In fact, our oldest fossil records come from fungi, and they’re a very, very successful type of organism. And the primary form that a fungal organism takes is in its mycelial form, which you can think of as an underground root structure, just all these little threads underground and they connect all the trees together, they send information bidirectionally. They actually trade resources. I’ve been speaking with an evolutionary biologist, Toby Kiers, and we recorded a podcast together where we’re… She’s studying economies underground through this fungal organization, and I’m coming at it from the Bitcoin side. We had a nice chat, but the point is, they’re underground, they’re trading resources, and another type of fungi actually decompose all the organic matter found in our environment.
0:22:58.0 BQ: You can think of it like a recycling organism. If a tree drops a branch, what happens to the branch? Well, fungi leap out of the ground and break it apart into its base elements and recycle those into the ecosystem, and to tie this slightly into Bitcoin here, this mycelial organism, there is no central point of control. This is a decentralized network intelligence, and every little edge, every little mycelial thread is actually making decisions local to its environment, and the sum total of all these tiny little decision makers makes up a single organism. That’s the network intelligence. And Bitcoin acts in a similar way, there’s individuals who own some Bitcoin, you can run a node, which is essentially a peer on this network that relays transactions, you can mine the network, you can have a business on the network. All these things combined make up one decentralized network organism that is Bitcoin.
0:23:58.5 BQ: And this is actually a very, very powerful type of organism. This is an anti-fragile organism, it learns when it’s attacked and it grows when it’s attacked to get stronger in the presence of volatility. So for an example, underground, you have this microbiology battle going on underground everywhere, and what happens is one fungi fights another or bacteria or whatever, and if a predator comes on the edge of this mycelial network, the organism actually sends information through the network to the mushroom scientists, they create a new custom enzyme… They’re the best chemists on the planet, a new custom enzyme, which they then ship over to the predator and then the organism defends itself. And this happens on iterated, iterated, iterated, billions of times over the years. And what that’s resulted in is these very, very intelligent organisms with an entire library of molecules to defend itself.
0:24:54.8 BQ: And it just so happens that humans are similar to these organisms, we’re more similar to fungi than we are to plants, and so it just so happens that some of the molecules they made to defend themselves also work on our human biology, which is why so much of our medicine comes from fungi. And the Bitcoin network is also anti-fragile. If there’s a software bug or someone’s attacking the network, again, information travels to this network, it finds its way to the developers or stakeholders, they create a new software patch enzyme, ship that software patch throughout the network. And again, the system grows, the system’s stronger. And so it’s always growing, it’s always getting faster, it’s always getting smarter. That’s two. Should I keep going on fungi?
0:25:38.4 PA: Yes, please.
0:25:42.1 BQ: Alright, cool. Another one, the immune system. That’s one primary role fungi plays in a forest. The fungi will hold water droplets, preserve them, so when there’s a drought they can release them into the forest. It actually is trading between these different tree species, so it’s in the fungi’s best interest to keep the trees alive. So it actually shares immune benefits to the forest, keeps the whole thing alive. And Bitcoin actually performs a similar role for humanity, it’s our immune system as well, it protects against over-reaching governments, cancerous central banks, rent-seeking businesses. If those come into play, you can just move your value into Bitcoin. You’re sort of untouchable in a sense, which forces the state to respect individual sovereignty. And another interesting thing here is the concept from Taleb called the Lindy effect, which essentially says, the longer something has been around, the longer you can expect it to be around in the future. And what’s interesting here is, if you look at this decentralized network intelligence, the mycelial archetype, if you zoom way in onto our brains, our neural net looks just like this mycelial network, and it also acts in this decentralized network archetype. If you zoom way out into the expansive outer space, again, you find the same archetype.
0:27:00.7 BQ: And so what does this tell us? It tells me that that decentralized network archetype’s actually a really good evolutionary strategy. Biology has all these iterations, so the strategies we see alive today are around because they’ve worked for so long. And so if Bitcoin is that same archetype, it leads me to believe that we’ve stumbled on something really important here, something foundational, and I expect that archetype to persist into the future. Now, you mentioned the environmental thing, and how does it interface with energy networks? I think that’s a really interesting point. Also very misunderstood. So first fungi, they actually will decompose this organic matter or non-organic matter, Paul Stamas has shown fungi decomposing oil spills, essentially breaking hydrocarbon bonds, very hard to do, and they also decompose sticks and leaf litter and animals, etcetera. And what they’re essentially doing is they’re liberating stranded resources. A hydrocarbon bond in oil, the environment can’t do anything with it, but fungi comes in and breaks it apart, and now we have useful base elements.
0:28:08.2 BQ: The same is true with Bitcoin. So the majority of Bitcoin miners are found at energy sources, so we’re producing energy, but there’s no demand nearby to buy that energy. So you’re producing energy and it’s wasted. Think rural geothermal, you’re in Iceland, you have all this free energy in the ground, but there’s no customers nearby. Or in China, they have all this hydroelectric power, again with no customers nearby. So during the rainy season, they have 100 times the energy that they need, and so the options are waste the energy, or plug in some specialized computers that mine Bitcoin and then you can actually monetize that stranded, otherwise wasted energy asset. Nice symmetry there. One more thing with fungi, social scalability. This is a concept popularized by Nick Szabo, and it essentially means cooperating over long distances over space and time.
0:29:06.5 BQ: So essentially, how well can humans cooperate together? And things that have improved social scalability over time would be things like property rights, the English language, monetary tools. It allows humans to leave our little 150-person hunter-gatherer Dunbar tribe into more complex societies. And where we’re at right now, we went from that hunter-gather tribe, agricultural city-states, now we’re in this large, industrialized super-nation, and what that is is nations competing against nations for resources and power. But we’re sort of at a glass ceiling of our evolution as a species right now, because we’re just playing the nation state game.
0:29:48.1 BQ: And what Bitcoin potentially can do is, it actually can break that glass ceiling because it allows us to trade with a monetary good that isn’t owned by one specific country. If the US and China are competing, they don’t wanna use each other’s currency, and so Bitcoin’s this credibly neutral, base money that the whole world can participate in. You don’t have to trust the other person on the transaction, you just trust the math in the protocol. And this plays out in the nation-state level, and it also allows individuals around the world, there’s over two billion people that have no financial services, that means no checking account, no banking, no nothing. And so instead, we can give them a $50 Android phone and they can have all the banking services on that phone connecting to the Bitcoin network. And so again, it expands social scalability as a species. And if we’re gonna look to the future, we need to stop playing this nation-state resource game, we need to stop fighting with each other, we need to start cooperating more. And I think Bitcoin actually plays a big role there. I’ve got about five more of these if you want me to keep going.
0:30:52.2 PA: Well, that’s… I wanna dive into a couple of points there. One is, back to the conversation that we had at the beginning around the US Central Bank coming off the gold standard and creating the global currency, the global fiat currency. Peter Thiel, which I’m sure you saw this, was at the Nixon Conference or something a couple of weeks ago, and he mentioned how Bitcoin is a fantastic weapon for China to use because it could essentially kill the US hegemony on currency. And so I think there’s an interesting play there where Bitcoin in the short term, it’s like what’s going on in the psychedelic space right now, actually, I’ll make an interesting parallel. Where nation states might think, “Oh, I can use Bitcoin as a weapon, or I can use Bitcoin to become better, or I can use it, whatever to attack the US, or it’s gonna make me stronger and more powerful,” without recognizing or realizing that Bitcoin actually has its own intelligence and is doing its own thing and just using that nation state or using that person as an avenue for it.
0:32:04.2 PA: And I think the same thing is true of psilocybin mushrooms. You see folks, especially right now in all the for-profit plays in the psychedelic space, you say, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna patent this mushroom and then I can do whatever I want with it.” Without recognizing or realizing that actually, the mushroom itself has its own intelligence and its own path that it wants to take, and although you might think that you have control over it, it in fact is controlling you to a large degree. So I just, that’s an observation more anything, but I do think it speaks to the power of Bitcoin to disrupt the over-centralized global currency and how it has its own intelligence and way of moving about the world, if you will.
0:32:50.0 BQ: So the US dollar is the global reserve currency. The US essentially forces everyone to do trade in that, that’s why we call it the petrodollar, because you cannot buy and sell oil unless it’s priced in dollars. And what that means is the US can spy on everyone’s financial system, they can shun the nations they don’t like, they can penalize whoever, and they can essentially just turn people off the financial system. And in some ways that helps the US ’cause we have this world police doing our bidding, but it comes at a really high cost. Again, we export jobs, and we sanctioned Iran. We can argue if that’s good or bad, but the individual people in Iran didn’t do anything wrong and they suffered tremendously. So there’s a high cost to playing the world police here. And what Thiel was mentioning was that China hates the US dollar reserve. China’s grown up, they feel like they’re part of the game now, and they wanna have a little more power, and the US is holding them back. And so Thiel’s saying, “Well, maybe China can use Bitcoin to disrupt the US dollar hegemony.” And this is a really interesting comment by Thiel, it feels like 4D chess to me, what he… You could say Bitcoin is bad for America, ’cause China’s gonna use it, but I think that’s actually wrong.
0:34:01.0 BQ: I think what Thiel’s doing is he’s saying, “Hey, Americans, wake up, China is gonna be using this as a tool and you should too.” Okay, now the question is, would China adopt Bitcoin as a way to gain power? The answer is no. Here’s why, Bitcoin is horrible for dictatorships. It allows your citizens to have their own money, leave with their own money, you can’t spy on it, you can’t confiscate it. And so dictators hate Bitcoin in terms of what their citizens will be using. And so again, back to the, does the mushroom have its own mission? Does Bitcoin have its own mission? Bitcoins mission is to be free, open, global, and neutralist censorship resistance, it’s open source money for the people. And so, yeah, I think ultimately if China even messes with Bitcoin, it’s going to subvert their control, and I think they’re smart enough to realize that they should not do that. Yeah, that’s how I’d say that one.
0:34:58.3 PA: So even if they don’t do that, my sense of things based on the research that I’ve done, based on the conversations that we’re just having now is even if countries, let’s say the United States refuses to adopt Bitcoin or even more so they say, “Hey, we’re gonna go after Bitcoin, we’re gonna attack Bitcoin, we’re gonna try to destroy Bitcoin so that we can have our own currency.” Because everyone wants to start their own E-currency now. China’s doing this with their social currency to spy on people and all this other bullshit that they have going on over there. Can Bitcoin be destroyed? What’s the sense of that? How might a nation state as powerful as the United States just kill Bitcoin, if that’s even possible?
0:35:45.7 BQ: And this is a rational question. Once you understand Bitcoin at least an inch deep, you realize, “Okay, I’m bought into this idea. If it works, that’d be really cool.” The next question is, “If it does take power away from the state, won’t the government just shut it down when it becomes big?” Rational question. And the historical analogy here is actually the internet, the commercial internet. So in the ’90s, we had a big debate politically, we were saying, “Hey, bad people are using the internet, drug dealers, pedophiles, pornography, whatever you wanna say, it’s bad.” And the US Government battled with it for a few years, and ultimately what they came up with is, this innovation is not going anywhere, and so it’s best that we embrace it, it’s best that we “Do No Harm,” essentially foster innovation inside our borders. And ultimately that resulted in a huge win for America. The majority of the commercialized internet FAANG stocks, they’re all domiciled here. That brings tremendous wealth and tremendous power to the United States. And so I think the same exact thing is playing out here with Bitcoin. So some nation states are going to try to ban it, but what that’s going to do is it’s just gonna hurt their own country and their own citizens, and Bitcoin will flourish outside of their borders.
0:37:00.4 BQ: And so it’s really not a game about, can you stop Bitcoin? It’s, how does your state relate to it? And I actually feel very optimistic about the US for a couple of reasons. One, Bitcoin actually has American values, original American values, personal responsibility, personal sovereignty, distribution of power, that kinda thing. That’s all built right into Bitcoin’s ethos. And so I think deep down inside, I’m optimistic about our leadership to recognize that. And even if they don’t recognize that, the reality is they can’t stop it. And so if you play it out in your head, you realize that you can push innovation outside or you can embrace innovation, make… They’ll get their taxes, they’ll try to spy on the network, they’ll try to make Bitcoin a little more sanitized. But the end result is this thing’s here, and it’s in our best interest to adopt it. And then you might say, “Well, what about regulations? I’ve read something on Time magazine that said otherwise.” Well, here’s some facts, we have multiple politicians that are openly pro-Bitcoin. Cynthia Lummis, the senator from Wyoming, she’s very pro-Bitcoin. You’ve got multiple mayors saying, “We’re pro-Bitcoin,” trying to pay people in it. You’ve got multiple states giving tax incentive for minors, congressman from Ohio, Warren Davidson openly supports Bitcoin.
0:38:17.0 BQ: The new SEC Chairman Gary Gensler taught courses on Bitcoin at MIT. He’s pro Bitcoin. The list could go on and on. And so yeah, you could think of it as an attack against the US currency, or you could look at it as a new Internet… A new type of innovation that’s not going anywhere, and game theory says the best move is to adopt it instead of attack it.
0:38:39.4 BQ: Now, what about other countries? I think some countries will try to ban it. Turkey tried to ban it. Nigeria did ban it. And what happened after Nigeria banned it, it… Well, okay, let’s back up. Nigeria was having civil rights problems. The government was cracking down on the people, the people were getting squashed, and all of the banks turned off all the “dissidents”, the people, they turned off all their bank accounts, so the uprising had no way to participate. What did they do? They turned to Bitcoin because again, you can’t stop it. So then all these donations flooded into Nigeria and capitalized the popular movement there, which then allowed people to fight back. Then the government said, “Hey, no, Bitcoin. We don’t like this anymore.” And then the adoption exploded. Now, Nigeria has over 35% of individuals owns some Bitcoin, it’s the highest rate in the whole world. And so you try to stop it and it highlights the need for it. Same thing is happening to Turkey right now.
0:39:33.9 BQ: And so when you start to look at this decentralized network organism that routes around attacks, it starts to paint a really interesting… A picture, and it also makes me very optimistic about the future. And so to sum all that up, individual states could attack it, individuals may be vulnerable; the network itself is not vulnerable. And I think the incentives lead nation stays to participate instead of attack it ’cause it’s best for them, ultimately.
0:40:00.9 PA: Well, this goes back to our point from earlier, which is with remote work now, and getting paid online, and being able to work from anywhere, you have countries like Costa Rica that a lot of our friends have either lived in or have moved to, or we ourselves have lived in, where also, they’re more open to plant medicine, and it’s just pretty chill there. And so there’s this sort of massive redistribution of human capital happening as a result of certain rules and restrictions and regulations. And so if there’s a certain country that decides, “Hey, we’re not gonna participate with this, we’re not… We’re gonna try to ban it,” then it’s… The citizens that are producing value for that state will choose to move elsewhere. And then going back to your point, the only thing that the state might have to rely on then is inflation because its tax base continues to decrease more and more and more and more. So it feels like it makes sense for people to, like you said, as a result of game theory, for people to adopt Bitcoin rather than to try to nix it or nuke it or whatever else it is.
0:41:03.6 PA: Now, I wanna keep this thread going because one huge element of this thread has been decentralization and how, really, the future… The past has been decentralization, and the future will be decentralization. We went through this middle period with industrialism that really helped to take a lot of the human population out of suffering, that helped with science, that helped with the enlightenment, that helped with literacy, that helped with all these really important things, but industrialism clearly has played its part. As Naval Ravikant put in a tweet the other week, “We’ve hit peak centralization and now are starting to re-decentralize everything.” We’re seeing this with cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, we’re seeing this with blockchain technology, we’re seeing this with startup culture, we’re seeing this with remote work, we’re seeing this with psychedelics, as well. Psychedelics are a huge decentralizing force.
0:41:52.8 PA: And the way that I think about decentralization is in a centralized environment, a lot of the sort of power and energy becomes stuck in unproductive silos, if you will. And so just like you were talking about earlier, when you introduce mushrooms into an environment, they take that stuck energy, the energy that’s unproductive, and they actually transform it into energy that can be utilized. I think something similar happens with psychedelics. When you take a psychedelic, you have all this sort of stuck energy in your subconscious and unconscious that is often related to stories from your past, trauma, things that have occurred that haven’t been great that keeps you blocked, so to say. And a lot of people say that our greatest gift is in our wound. So through a psychedelic experience, we then unfurl a lot of that subconscious and unconscious so that it becomes available for our consciousness to work with and integrate and utilize to help us become more sovereign, more powerful, more responsible for our well-being. What are sort of the commonalities that you see between the rise of Bitcoin and the rise of psychedelics? Why are these two technologies emerging around the same time as it relates to the further decentralization of our systems?
0:43:14.9 BQ: Oh, yeah, amazing questions here. So a couple quick things. I view, again, keeping on this path of sovereignty, I see both psychedelics and Bitcoin as a tool for sovereignty or freedom or personal liberty, however you wanna describe it. And from the psychedelic side, this might be freedom from your dogma, the culture, the conditioning, the things that have imprinted you and imprisoned you that you might not be aware of. It might be freedom from our addictions, our little stuck patterns. Or even freedom to actually change your own… To perturb your own consciousness in the sanctity of your own home, like cognitive liberty, very important thing. On the Bitcoin side, same kind of tool. It gives you freedom to do and act with whatever means that you want to. You worked, you got the fruits of your labor, you have some money, you should be able to do whatever you want with it without having to ask for permission. And the state has its role, you could say, but it’s not that.
0:44:11.0 BQ: And so they both are freedom tools, they’re both tools that help you learn more about yourself, sort of shatter your worldview, build it back up. They both have those similar tendencies. And if we zoom way out, that’s the individual level, if we zoom way out, I think a good analogy here, joining on psychedelia and recent science, is the default mode network. That’s the section of our brain, that’s our repetitive patterns, that’s when we’re just sitting and daydreaming, we know this. And if the personal default mode network is overactivated, what do you see? You see anxiety, depression, neuroticism, etcetera. If the planet’s default mode network’s overactive, you see totalitarianism, communism, fascism, that tight grip, that paranoid… You see, essentially, what China is. They spy on their citizens, they rank them, they put the ones they don’t like in the dumpster. And that’s not a good thing. This is an example of too much central processing, not enough to centralization. And so Bitcoin, in a similar way, is sort of the psychedelic to disrupt that default mode network on our planet. And we cannot control nature, we cannot control the economy, and so that we should just not try to do that. We should realize that we need to be in balance with nature, in balance with the economy and allow that to be a decentralized thing, instead of this commanding control idea.
0:45:31.4 BQ: And what I’m worried about right now is that we’re having this transitionary period in our species. There’s all these crazy things coming out of governments. And their pitch, the World Economic Forum or China or the World Bank, things like this, they’re saying things like, “You’re gonna own nothing and you’re gonna be happy.” This is the great reset. These are their public PR stunts, and their vision of the future is that we double down on the centralization, and they’re essentially saying, “Well, it didn’t work last time, so just give us even more control, and we’ll do a better job this time.” And that’s just fundamentally impossible. Economies are the sum total of individuals who act in their local environment, and you cannot manage this. It is a complex adaptive system. That’s infinite amounts of data. You can’t just put 20 old white guys in a room right here and have them just pull some levers and think the economy’s gonna work. There’s always gonna be all these nasty unintended consequences.
0:46:33.1 BQ: And so what Bitcoin does is it essentially says, “It’s impossible to manage an economy, it’s impossible to steer it from the top, centrally, so let’s remove that power and say, ‘The monetary policy is fixed. The money itself cannot be messed with.’ And now, individuals can work in their own behavior and plug into this open network that adapts and responds to the needs of our economy.” And so yeah, big difference between those two.
0:47:04.8 PA: And so what role do you think, then, based on that, this sort of interruption of the rigidity of both our personal and collective consciousness. You mentioned before that we’ve sort of hit a glass ceiling in our evolution, so we could see that glass ceiling as that rigidity, that thing that we can’t get beyond. How does sort of, let’s say the combination, even, of Bitcoin and psychedelics help us to break through that glass ceiling, help us to break through the rigidity as it relates to both personal well-being, personal sovereignty, and our collective evolution?
0:47:39.2 BQ: So a couple things. On the psychedelic side, I see that on an individual level as a deconditioning tool. It’s a wake-up tool, it’s a reprioritize tool, it’s a empowerment tool. And those type of things are very needed today because we need people to act courageously and look to the future and actually build this thing. And I fear that most people are, you know, to use a tired analogy, like sheep. We’re just told what to do, we’re just getting, going whatever, doing our thing. And I think there’s some evolutionary reason for that. Like in a tribal setting, being ostracized is the worst thing that could happen. So most people try to play within the bounds and maintain social cohesion. That makes sense, but I think what we need now is bold, courageous leaders. And I think psychedelia actually produces those type of leaders. Now, if you go too far that way, and I’ve heard Jamie Wheal talk about this, you just flail in the abyss and you don’t actually get anything done. And so you have to find the balance between the two.
0:48:41.8 BQ: And the way I see Bitcoin here, I like the analogy of the Trophic Cascade Effect. And so what this essentially means is I’ll use the wolves in Yellowstone as the analogy. So there’s, the gray wolf had a range of Southern Mexico to Northern Canada, essentially, took the whole Rocky Mountain Region, that was their range. And then at some point, the farmer said, “Hey, we don’t like the wolves. They’re eating our sheep.” So they passed a law and they killed all the wolves. And what happened is the whole ecosystem degraded because you remove out that apex predator. So all these negative downstream effects, the ungulate population got too big, they ate all the grass, then the ungulates died. And then downstream, downstream, downstream, all these problems. And what we’ve done in the economy is we’ve essentially taken out the apex predator, which used to be gold, again, based on scarcity, again, restraint in the economy, and what happened? Our economy, our social institutions, they’ve all decayed because we took out the apex predator.
0:49:39.9 BQ: And so what Bitcoin represents is reintroducing the apex predator in a new modern package that is Bitcoin, that’s digital, that improves on what we know about gold. It’s like a modern engineered version of the best money we can think of. So put that back into Yellowstone, and what happens? Okay, if you look at the wolf, you’re bringing back the wolf, the ungulate population gets into control, the prairies come back. And the ultimate story here, there’s a great YouTube video that describes this, the rivers actually moved because you introduce the wolf. That’s the Trophic Cascade, all the second order, third order effects from having a proper ecosystem.
0:50:18.7 BQ: And so Bitcoin brings us back in balance, and I expect all kinds of positive downstream effects from this. And I like analogies, so I’m gonna pile one more on here. The difference between our current system, our fiat monetary system, you can think of as a monocrop industrial farm. There’s some good things about that. It’s hyperefficient, it’s low-cost, it scales, but it’s also susceptible to disease, and it’s unsustainable, and it’s very fragile. If you remember the bananas. So we have a Cavendish banana, that’s the standard yellow banana today. Previous to that, we had a different banana, and that was mass produced everywhere around the world. And then the banana had a particular fungus that attacked it, and since we only had one species of banana, they were all clones, one predator wiped out the entire banana stock in the whole world. So again, efficient, but vulnerable.
0:51:13.0 BQ: And these type of systems, from a monetary standpoint, fiat offers short-term price stability. We overmanage this thing so that the price of the dollar is relatively stable. But what does that give us? Systemic instability. So we have a financial collapse or even just a little shock, what happens? The whole system breaks. And so we’re essentially not accounting for the volatility. And we actually hide the volatility in markets, and it builds up and builds up like potential energy, and then one catalyst, the whole thing breaks. And every time we have these financial issues, the wealth gap expands massively, and so it’s bad for the people.
0:51:49.9 BQ: And now on the complete opposite side, we have Bitcoin, which is like an old grille forest. This is fierce competition, this is hardened from constantly being attacked and iterated. It grows incrementally. It’s sustainable, it’s anti-fragile, etcetera, so a nice parallel. And what Bitcoin trades is it accepts short-term volatility, so you can’t change the monetary policy of Bitcoin; it’s fixed, which means the price is more volatile. But in exchange, these external shocks to the system don’t matter. Bitcoin has systemic stability. And so what that does is it gives us a sturdier foundation for society to grow and build, and we don’t have such volatile waves of boom and bust. And ultimately, that allows our markets, our individuals to produce more value, more sustainable value that will last into the future.
0:52:41.4 BQ: And so one more analogy. Before, a long time ago, we used to have bricks. As a material, we build houses out of bricks. And you could get three, four, maybe five stories out of bricks. And then all of a sudden, we invented steel. And steel allowed us to build 100 stories, to make gigantic bridges, essentially, connecting all the bridges to Manhattan, and all of a sudden, we can build higher. And so Bitcoin is like the invention of steel. It’s a new industrial commodity that allows us to build higher and more sustainably as a species.
0:53:14.9 PA: And yeah, it’s also very non-industrial. It’s very much of the Information Age. It’s very much something that is decentralized. When I think of “industry” or “industrial”, the word, it sort of I think of centralization and physical goods. So it’s almost this Information Age technology that is creating the super highway for the future of financial reciprocity.
0:53:43.7 BQ: Well said, I like that analogy. And you’re right, it’s not industrial thing, it’s not from the previous era. It’s very much looking to the future. It is a network state, which is, I think, the right buzzword to think about this with. And to illustrate it with a fungi analogy, so there is a slime mold, which is not technically a fungi, but it’s similar, and Japanese scientists did an experiment where they essentially mapped out the Tokyo subway station. Each stop in the station was an oat flake, which is the slime mold’s favorite food, so essentially, a maze with all these different nodes. They released the slime mold into the maze. In the first 12 hours, it expanded, it connected itself to all the food, and then in the next 12 hours, it re-architected its network into the most efficient way to connect all these points. And the scientists say, “Oh, wow! Look at that, a slime mold has a better sense of engineering the system. They actually made a better and more resilient subway system, the slime mold did.”
0:54:46.8 BQ: And why do I bring this up? I don’t bring this up to knock the scientists, I’m sure they were world-class. I bring it up to say, “In this situation, a decentralized network organism outcompetes the centralized best and brightest of our species.” So a very simple organism that is decentralized produced a better result. And that is what we need to be moving towards in a Bitcoin future, is a network state with network money, network communications, and that is what the next stage is. We’re gonna break through the glass ceiling and stop that giant mega industrial nation, and move into this decentralized network state, where you find your people and you can be very nimble. And yeah, I just get excited thinking about what that future might look like.
0:55:32.8 PA: Well, I’ve even talked about this in terms of what Third Wave is, it’s really this is my serial network, so to say, that is decentralized, that’s empowering individuals within our community through education, through a network of providers, through trusted resources and information so that they can make the decisions that are best for themselves based on the insight and awareness that comes through certain psychedelic experiences.
0:55:56.0 PA: And that’s so much of even how psychedelics are shifting healthcare. We haven’t really got into that yet, but our healthcare system is also very centralized, it’s very rigid. It’s prescriptive, it’s paternalistic, and it’s broken as fuck. And so what psychedelics are doing is they’re essentially transforming healthcare to be much more about what is it that the individual needs based on their specific circumstances, and how do they come to that awareness and those conclusions through conversation and dialogue, both with themselves and trusted experts. So much of our healthcare system has been, “Well, just take this pill,” or, “Do this thing,” or you know, “This thing worked for all these folks, so it must work for you.” And what we learn again and again and again from these psychedelic experiences is the fundamental importance of personal responsibility, and also, the fundamental truth of our interconnectedness.
0:56:55.4 PA: And so I think that sort of… The play between those two sort of seemingly opposites, full personal responsibility and full interconnectedness, the ability to weave in and out of that and hold both of those energies is what creates sort of a coherent, healthy, beautiful self.
0:57:15.0 PA: And I think the same is true for the role that Bitcoin and blockchain and some of these decentralized technologies do is, like you said, they facilitate the power of the sovereign individual, and they also create stronger networks so that these individuals can collectively create new systems that are more powerful than what they are for themselves, so last question then for you, we’ve talked about… We talked about Bitcoin, we talked about mycelial networks, we talked about psychedelics, there’s a concept that you’ve touched on in some of your writings called The Fourth Turning, which I think is super, super interesting, how do these decentralized technologies and the emergence of them play into this Fourth Turning that we’re currently going through as a culture? And I think what would be helpful for our audience is to first explain the concept of the Fourth Turning, and then what role these emerging technologies will play as this comes to be in the next 10 to 12 to 15 years.
0:58:23.2 BQ: Wonderful, wonderful. So if you don’t mind, I’d love to address the commercialization of psychedelics, healthcare versus sick care that your comment was… And then we’ll touch on Fourth Turning. So I like to think of our, what we call our healthcare system today as our sick care system right, that’s where you go when you need some pharmaceuticals or you need a surgery, but it doesn’t really serve people who are looking to be well, and that’s a huge problem to me. We need more well people, and that’s things like the foundational things like nutrition and exercise and stress management, sleep and water, and also psychedelics, and so we have this resurgence from the clinical side, which is kind of a sneaky way to allow these substances back into society, and I’m supportive of the clinical approach.
0:59:08.1 BQ: However, I think it’s a very, very limited aspect of what these tools are for, and I hope it’s the Trojan horse to make it more available, and some people have talked about like Jamie Wheal has mentioned, like go on the offensive and get all the patents before the bad guys do and then share the patents of these substances with the good guys, and I’m very, very supportive of Jamie, I respect the guy a lot, but I think there’s something here that’s missing.
0:59:38.7 BQ: He also brings up the idea of, we patent the things, great, and then we create new types of organizations and new types of pledges, and we essentially trying to collect goodwill from the good actors, and then hope the system changes by goodwill alone, and I just figured that this approach… I agree with Jamie lot of things, but I disagree with him on this one, and I just don’t think that type of approach is sustainable, we can’t rely on goodwill, and so my instant here is to come back to incentives, I think the incentives, show me the incentives, I’ll show you the outcome kind of thing. I think that’s the right approach here, and so I think if we’re gonna try to fix our relationship to corporations and state and money and all these big hairy things that he talks about, and we’ve been talking about, the first thing we need to do is fix the base level incentives, which are money. So my point to Jamie, I know you’re listening to this, put Bitcoin at the base of your ideas, and then things on top will be much easier and much stickier. I don’t know if you have any comments there before I move on to the Fourth Turning?
1:00:44.3 PA: No, that sounds great. I think… I’ve watched a couple of Jamie’s talks lately, particularly the one that he did with Rebel Wisdom on the psychedelic space. I think where a lot of folks are wrong, and maybe Jamie’s included in this is I think patents are totally fucking irrelevant at this point in time. I think patents are like the 1970s, 1980s, and that’s my core reason why I’m even skeptical of all these biotech approaches is they’re attempting… Like patents are just old hat. I just had a great conversation with Ryan Zurrer, who runs a venture fund called Vine Ventures, where we got really deep into this as to why patents are useless.
1:01:23.3 PA: IP, it’s still… Intellectual property is legit, and there are algorithms that you can build and there are software that you can build and there are things that you can protect, but when it comes to specific patents, my sense of how the psychedelic renaissance will roll out will be based on the models that we’re building with Third Wave and synthesis, which is empower individuals to grow their own mushrooms and have their own experience and connect with communities that are local to them where they can do this with groups of friends, like you and I both know this as psychedelic users and probably a lot of listeners like the vast majority of people, like I just did psychedelics, the other night, I was with a couple of friends in our home, right, what’s gonna be way cooler is just send a prep kit, send an integration kit, send an experience kit, and just make sure people have all the tools to do it really beautifully themselves.
1:02:11.2 PA: So I’m just… I think the patent play is useless, and there’s really no… To go even further, ’cause you had mentioned this before, I think a lot of these sort of biotech companies in the psychedelic space that are trying to even patent molecules are rent-seekers. They’re essentially trying to create value for themselves off of something that is already totally natural and organic and all those sorts of things. So I could keep going on that, but I think it’s a bit of an off-topic. I might get to too much of a tangent. Let’s talk about how that weaves into the Fourth Turning and Bitcoin and mycelial networks and psychedelics and if you wanna comment on anything that I just said as well, please, please do so.
1:02:53.6 BQ: Yeah, wonderful. I’ll make the comments on that brief, I can tell your passionate about it. I think we agree on that perspective almost entirely. I think patents and IP are industrial-age relics, and I think they will become less and less useful over time, and the primary reason for that, like the underlying driving force is that information wants to be free, okay? Information wants to be free, and if you’re gonna fight that and try to box this thing in, you’re fighting against gravity, and it might work a little bit, but it’s gonna be very expensive and very hard to manage this, you’re seeing this in music, they’re trying to manage this around the world, and it’s super expensive and super hard, and so I don’t think it’s a good idea and long-term, it’ll die, and I agree with your model of, the substances should be free and accessible. I’m offended by patenting them. Personally, I understand the business case.
1:03:47.2 BQ: And where the money is made is on the service, right, you should be able to have this fancy retreat center where you go and you have good food and good people, and you facilitate an experience, you should be able to have a distributed model where you buy an online course version of teaching you how to interface with these technologies, that’s the move, right. It is a decentralized movement, that’s the only sustainable thing here and yeah, that’s also how you make it more accessible to people. We can go on all day on this. Let’s talk about the Fourth Turning. Now that we agree. Okay, shifting gears totally, the Fourth Turning is…
1:04:23.0 PA: Well, Brandon, I think what would be cool is, based on what you just said, how does that play into this Fourth Turning? How does that play into the next 10 or 12 years, right, if information wants to be free, if grow kits and these decentralized systems, how does then psychedelics inform that Fourth Turning in a really beautiful way?
1:04:42.3 BQ: Yeah, good question. To be honest, I haven’t thought too much about these two topics colliding, but I’m gonna start pitching you the Fourth Turning and try to tie it in at the end with something I haven’t thought about yet. Fourth Turning, book written in the ’90s by two demographers. So they study demographics and cycles and things like that, and the thesis of the book is that every 80 to 90 years, society hits this breaking point and we essentially rebuild our exterior world, think institutions, politics, economics, etcetera. All that stuff changes. And it’s almost as if society outgrows our infrastructure and we’re like, “Oh crap, our institutions are all failing, we better do something about this.” And usually in those periods, you see economic inequality get really bad, you see populism rise, and it’s almost as if we need to sort of reset the game board, shift power around and reset, start over.
1:05:39.5 BQ: And so these Fourth Turning, the thesis is all about archetypal demographics, so each generation has its own archetype, hero, prophet, nomad, artist, etcetera. They follow a cyclical pattern, and simply by observing, is the hero archetype a child or are they of middle age? Is the nomad end of life or are they a young adult? So the constellation of these different archetypes essentially sets a mood for society, and that mood you can use to predict how society will respond to a catalyst, okay? So one example would be in the 1900s, in the beginning of World War II or World War I, sorry, they sunk one of the US ships, the Lufitsuania or something… I forgot the name of the ship. They sunk a ship and that was in the…
1:06:29.8 PA: Lusitania. The Lusitania.
1:06:31.6 BQ: Lusitania, there you go, thank you. That ship was sunk. And in the Third Turning, so that’s like three quarters of the way through this cycle, the mood was that we did not wanna go to war, and so we had a catalyst and everyone said, “We’re not going to work.” And then you fast forward into the Fourth Turning, that’s the period where the chaos comes, you had the sinking or… Sorry, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What happened? War the next day. Total war, everyone’s in support. So a similar catalyst, different response. That’s just one example. There are many.
1:07:01.7 BQ: And so again, it’s setting up the mood, and these cycles are 80 to 90 years, there’s four periods, so the previous Fourth Turning was 1929 to 1945. That’s the great depression, stock market collapse, World War II. We re-did the financial system, that’s the period where the central government expanded, the largest ever. We started doing deficit spending. We created the UN, World Bank, NATO, social security, unemployment insurance, a totally new financial system, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So a massive period of change. And after that period of change, starting in 1945 to the early ’60s, we had a period of relative peace and prosperity that’s the First Turning, that’s when we’re sick of fighting and we just wanna work together, it’s a sterile time, culture is boring, but it’s relative prosperity, and then the young people who grew up in that sterile born environment, the baby boomers, they come of age in the ’60s and they go, “Whoa, this is boring. The music sucks. White picket fences, there’s no culture. There’s no religion, I’m bored.” And they wanna rebel against their parents, a totally rational thing to do, so what do they do? They create a counter-culture, and that’s the civil rights movement, that’s psychedelic ’60s, that’s a pendulum swinging way away from that sterile collectivist view of the First Turning.
1:08:22.1 BQ: And then, okay, the baby boomers, the hippie thing, it starts to die off, and then they become yuppies, and they become these free-spirited people who wear a suit now, and they don’t really wanna raise their kids, they just wanna cling to the old thing. But they got their suits on. So they raise the generation, the Gen X kids who are the neglected kids, the latchkey kids that were under-parented. They’re the bad boys, the independent people, that’s like a Terminator or Home Alone, right? You have the individual kid fighting back against the bad guys, that’s very Gen X, and then society looks at the Gen X, they go, “Whoa, these kids are horrible. It’s the national emergency. We need good kids.” And then you enter in the Third Turning journey, the millennials are born, they’re over-parented, baby on board stickers, 13th place ribbons. We’re all good, everyone’s participated in whatever, and that Third Turning is a period of deregulation and excess.
1:09:23.2 BQ: And so our institutions are starting to crumble, but we’ve built up so much goodwill and positive momentum from the previous time that we haven’t really faced the consequences yet. So this is similar to the 1920s. Flappers, the roaring ’20s. It’s just burn it all down. Have fun before the world ends type of vibe. And then in 2008, we transition out of the Third Turning into the Fourth Turning, and that’s a period where our institutions are crumbling, and we’re starting to realize that it’s a problem and it’s time to band together and do something about it, and sort of a society defense mechanism that we see a big problem and the only way to fix it is to collectivize.
1:10:04.5 BQ: So previous Fourth Turnings have been primarily war or revolution. So very, very chaotic times. And in order to achieve those, we have to come together, and so symptoms that we’re seeing now are things like cancel culture, this is essentially the defense mechanism of the species saying, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” So it forms this tight populus group with tight rules, and it’s, again, if you’re not in the circle, you’re the enemy, and so it causes all the social disruption, and we’re right in the middle of this Fourth Turning. They usually last 20-25 years, started in ’08, so I predict it will end around 2030, but we’re entering the chaotic period here. We have, let’s say five, 10 years left, and it’s my belief we haven’t hit the peak yet, all Fourth Turnings have a climax. Again, usually total war. And I hope we’re in a society now where we’re not gonna be faced with total war with China or something else. I can’t say for sure. There’s a lot of social unrest in the US. It feels like we could have some sort of a new digital civil war in the United States as we sort of fracture and break apart.
1:11:10.8 BQ: I’m watching a few other things, but I don’t know how it’s gonna play out; however, the one thing that, again, tying this back to Bitcoin and psychedelics, the one thing that makes me optimistic here, we’re gonna go through this crazy period, we’re gonna redo all of our exterior world. How do we get there? The one major thing that’s different here is we have this new digital super organism that is Bitcoin, and what it serves us is a life raft through the Great Flood. And what I mean by that is, as individuals observe this scary future, this period of uncertainty, they have a life raft, they have a way to exit the system, join a parallel system, you can start with 1% of your worth, you can just start slow and you can just board people on to this life raft, and what that does is it releases pressure out of this volatile system, and what that means is instead of everyone going down with the ship, you can move some of your personal wealth, okay that means I’m protected now. My family is protected. Great. Then a nation state, they can protect some of their wealth, because otherwise, if an organism is backed against the wall, they’re trapped, they lash out and they fight, and so we wanna remove pressure from that system, and you kind of have this parallel system growing up slowly as the old system declines, and so that’s my optimistic view of the future.
1:12:28.0 BQ: I wrote, I don’t know, 10,000 or more words on this on my personal website, brandonquittem.com, where you can read about this. I go very into depth. It’s quite a fun read, and with psychedelics, I think that they play a catalyst on, again, waking up individuals, and in my personal life, I kinda straddle the two worlds. And what I’ve observed in the Bitcoin community is around 78% of Bitcoiners are supportive of psychedelics. Now, this is not a perfect science. I did a poll on my Twitter followers. So limited sample size but very overweight in support of these tools, and that’s not surprising to me. The Bitcoiners are the guys and girls who are eyes wide open trying to solve the problem in the same way that I see the psychedelic community coming together, having a renaissance, trying to fix things, and so it would be my great honor to merge these two.
1:13:21.4 BQ: I think they need each other in many ways, and I think that a future without one or the other is worse off, and so I see these two as complimentary. I think one plus one equals three here, and if we didn’t have the psychedelic renaissance 2.0 and Bitcoin exploding right now, I’d be pretty nervous about the future, but I feel very good right now, I feel very hopeful, because those two forces are so strong and that they both represent that decentralized network archetype, that Mycelial archetype, again, of the network state, of personal sovereignty.
1:13:57.5 BQ: And it’s not personal sovereignty in this [unclear speech] libertarian sense, it’s personal sovereignty in the sense that I can do what I want to do with my life, I have the freedom to do that, and then more individual people can do the thing that they love, and it doesn’t mean your individuals… We’re social species, we need others, but we can just remove the friction from this antiquated state model that again, emerged out of the industrial revolution, and these two tools help us and move forward into a network state. And so, most of your listeners, I’m sure are coming from psychedelia, what I would say is, I encourage you to explore Bitcoin. The two articles on my website are good, soft landings for psychedelically-minded people, especially the mycelium piece, and my DM’s open on Twitter, come say hello. I want to help this conversation be pushed along and… Yeah, man, I really appreciate the chat.
1:14:54.2 PA: Yeah, this is fantastic, and there’s probably a ton more that we can dive into. I read a great piece by BalajiS two weeks ago about what the future state will look like, and he talks about these network states that would come online as a result of everything that’s going on. And so I think you’re right that there’s all these early adopters and pioneers who are looking at decentralized models, who are looking at Bitcoin, who are looking at psychedelics, who are exploring Blockchain, who are kind of at the cutting edge of that, and yeah, we all recognize that these won’t be sort of fully integrated for at least another decade, if not two decades, and I think back to the invention of the printing press in 1451 and how the printing press then led to massive literacy and how massive literacy led to the enlightenment and how the enlightenment led to a lot more abundance and prosperity for more people. And I think a similar shift is happening now with the internet, and then blockchain and then psychedelics, is more and more folks are waking up and through that sort of awakening process, we are asking the question of what does it look like to build a new model that’s based on this truth of interconnectedness, and we’ll see how the next 10 years go.
1:16:15.0 PA: I agree with you that it will get worse before it gets better, and just like you, I’m very optimistic about the hope and the optimism that these incredible tools bring to the world. So Brandon, before we sign off, just for our listeners, you’ve already mentioned it a couple of times, but if they wanna find out more information about Bitcoin, about you, where should they head to after listening to this conversation?
1:16:39.7 BQ: Yeah, absolutely. And one final comment on your last post, which I think is very profound. The long trend of history since the beginning of agriculture has been trending towards individual sovereignty, and I think that’s a good thing, the printing press gave us information, the internet gave us information and communications at Lightspeed, globally, connected the whole world, Bitcoin represents money as an information, money as information or money as a content type, and then we’re gonna form ways to govern ourselves initially through online, maybe later we’ll form network states where we acquire land or we just stay to centralize. But that’s the trend of history, I’m very, very optimistic about that, I feel good about that, and we’re in a period of tremendous chaos as a species. I feel… Okay, the question, would I rather be in a boring time in culture where not a lot of things happened or would I wanna be a part, in a front row seat of a massive transition? And the way I’m built, I wanna be front row seat, I wanna be there, I wanna participate. The one life we have, let’s make it fun, let’s make it cool, let’s make it meaningful. In terms of connecting with me, most of my thoughts go on Twitter, Bquittem, that’s where you can find me there.
1:17:50.2 BQ: DMs are open, again, come say hello if any of this is interesting to you. I post my writing primarily on brandonquittem.com. My name, my website, you can find tons of other essays I wrote, podcasts, talks and conferences etcetera. That’s all there. If you’re interested in Bitcoin, you wanna get started, I also work for a BitCoin company called swanbitcoin.com, which is essentially an easy way for you to get started buying Bitcoin, just pick your plan, set up your bank, hit go. About 80% of our users have an automatic recurring purchase plan, so you can say, “Hey, I wanna buy 50 bucks a week or 100 bucks a month,” or whatever your number and frequency is, connect your bank and automate everything.
1:18:32.1 BQ: And I think that’s the right way to get started. If you go to swanbitcoin.com/quittem, my last name Q-U-I-T-T-E-M, you’ll get $10 in free Bitcoin just for signing up. And I write most of the emails there, so if you sign up for Swan, you’ll hear a lot from me, a lot of my tone comes through in our communications. Yeah, that’s it from me, man, I really appreciate it. Appreciate what you’re doing at Third Wave, and I hope to stay connected with you.
1:19:00.5 PA: Yeah, this was fun, Brandon. Thanks so much for popping on.