#23 The Human OS | Ted Moskovitz & Matt McKibbin

April 20, 2021

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1:59 – How Ted went from working as a lawyer to discovering a different purpose and eventually becoming an entrepreneur

4:03 – Ted explains the only tech that matters: The Human OS

4:38 – Matt’s story of how he came to work in decentralization

07:48 – How quantum physics defines reality and consciousness

11:26 – How psychedelics shifted Ted’s mindset

14:11- What is blockchain, and what does it have in common with psychedelics? 

22:17 – Is decentralization of psychedelics at scale actually something we want?

24:41 – Why Matt and Ted think decentralization is important

29:36 – Discussion about the modern concept of currency and the balance the benefits of crypto like the decentralization of power with the disadvantages like inefficiency

34:28 – Ronan’s reflections how blockchain technologies are enabling our societies to remove power from a centralized, aggregated few, and what the future holds

37:43 – Matt and Ted talk discuss their thoughts on an ideal future and the mindset needed to get there

40:29 – Matt, Ted and Ronan discuss how they think the psychedelic movement is going to evolve

44:28 – Ronan’s thoughts on his relationship with the Earth

45:48 – Ted’s first psychedelic experience on LSD

47:57 – Matt’s first DMT experience


Matt: [00:00:00] I think a lot of these cognitive liberty systems are removing societal structures, the conditioning, psychedelics do that really well. So if you’re going to think about the new ways to do money, you really need to forget how the old ways of money were done. You can learn from them, but you really need to be able to think outside the box. New pathways. [00:00:19][18.3]

Ted: [00:00:20] What I’ve come to realize over the past year or two is that the only technology that I think really matters is the human OS. It’s our own minds and it’s the way that we think. Everything else is just a tool. So if we hope to have any chance of really having an impact on our world and bringing forth technologies that are going to positively impact our world, we simply have to fix the people first. And I think that psychedelics are one of the best tools that we have of doing that, which is why we’re here now. [00:00:49][29.4]

Ronan: [00:00:55] This is Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I’m your host. Ronan Levy. Ted Moskovitz and Matt McKibbon are co-founders of DeCentraNet, a transformative tech advisory and investment firm, and AMMA which creates hemp related products. And they’re based out of Austin, Texas. Ted, like yours truly, is a recovering lawyer, investor and advisor who likes to live at the intersection of possibility and purpose. Matt is a tech savvy extrovert who is driven by transformative and decentralized technologies that positively impact the planet. Today, they join me to talk about this emerging space that crosses the digital world of crypto currencies with the traditional world of psychedelics. [00:01:47][51.8]

Ronan: [00:01:53] How on earth did each of you guys land here, straddling the intersections of psychedelics and crypto and I know crypto could be blockchain and really take that comment as broadly as possible. But what was your journey and Ted I’d love to start with you because you’re a recovering lawyer like me, and I relish listening to people share their come to God moments when their sense of dignity and self-worth finally helped them escape the role of attorney. [00:02:16][22.9]

Ted: [00:02:17] You know, like you I have been I’ve lived many different lives in one. I started out my career working in politics. I was working in the Senate for Bill Nelson, who’s a senator from Florida, and I was doing defense work and foreign policy work and things like that. And then after I was done doing this sort of political thing because I became very jaded, I started doing more international development work. And one of the things that I really took to in the international development context was human rights and human rights law and decided that I want to become a human rights lawyer, which is why I went to law school in the first place. Very quickly, you know, as I got into the human rights coursework, I realized that at the root of all of these human rights problems that I was trying to solve were essentially economic problems more than anything else, and that if we didn’t solve these underlying economic issues, we had no hope of solving the human rights problems that were being layered on top of them. And so I just decided to start studying business and the pendulum swung really far in that direction and I ended up becoming an attorney at the SEC doing securities law. And it’s only in hindsight that I realize the reason I went down that path was simply because it was the most prestigious thing that someone in business law can do. I really had very little sense of whether it was my purpose or my desire. But, you know, when you’re in law school especially, you’re sort of socialized into what’s this next brass ring that I can reach for and what’s sort of the thing that will give me the most prominence in society. Right. And I fortunately have reformed a lot since then, in large part thanks to psychedelics. As a person who is very ego minded, it was really just what’s the sort of most prestigious thing that I can do. But when you get your dream job, just like when you get your dream girlfriend or dream whatever, when you start to live with it every day, the dream becomes divorced from the reality of it. Right. And you realize it’s a real person and a real job. And so that sort of tension is ultimately what led me to leave law and become an entrepreneur. I founded a software company with a friend of mine and you know we were able to build and scale that up. And then I start doing more advising of friends’ businesses and things. And then in 2017 Matt and I teamed up to start DeCentraNet. What I’ve come to realize over the past year or two is that the only technology that I think really matters is the human OS. It’s our own minds and it’s the way that we think. Everything else is just a tool. So if we hope to have any chance of really having an impact on our world and bringing forth technologies that are going to positively impact our world, we simply have to fix the people first. And I think that psychedelics are one of the best tools that we have of doing that, which is why we’re we’re here now. [00:04:50][153.4]

Ronan: [00:04:51] There’s so much juicy stuff in that conversation. But before I wade in, Matt let’s let’s hear your story. [00:04:56][4.7]

Matt: [00:04:56] I’ll go back, I guess. I studied physics in undergrad and was always really interested in how consciousness would end up being described by physics and mathematics. It was always, I always had all of those different stories where you someone texts you what you think about them right beforehand and then you get the text message. And I always thought there’s got to be something more to consciousness there. And so it was just intrigued me how the mind worked and whether we were eventually going to be able to describe that side of the world. I graduated in 2008 as the the bailouts and the initial financial collapse happened, which definitely influenced my direction in the world. I went straight to grad school because I didn’t know what else to do. At the same school that I went to undergrad, I went to West Virginia University and I went for industrial hygiene engineering, a lot of chemical and radiological hazards and like mitigating those and toxicology, figuring out how to engineer out hazards and what’s actually hazardous to the brain and the body. From there I realized I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life and really wanted to make a difference. I was interested in the large societal problems and why what I saw, like the systems, our money system, our governance systems, the war on drugs, how these systems were not actually serving society very well at all. That led me very directly to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, I saw as a solution to kind of the unsound money system where these centralized bodies of power create money and all the abuse that goes with that centralization of power. At the same time, coincidentally, maybe not, probably not- discovered psychedelics and opened my mind to create new types of systems and decentralized power, democratizing access to how we govern ourselves and how we govern our emotions, and the cognitive liberty around all of that. I think a lot of these cognitive liberty systems are removing societal structures of the conditioning. Psychedelics do that really well. So if you’re going to think about the new ways to do money, you really need to forget how the old ways of money were done. You can learn from them, but you really need to be able to think outside the box, new pathways. From there on out, I knew I wanted to be like an evangelist and go speak about these new technologies and really just share my technical perspective, but in layman’s terms. My first startup that actually succeeded in some way, shape or form- I tried many times- was a conference called Detainee or Decentralized, and it was about the new types of like block chain and the sharing economy and the future of work. And even in our second conference, we had someone from Maps, we had Phil Wolfson, speak on disrupting psychiatry and how psychedelics were going to do that. And then in 2017, I realized one of my major purposes was to like help advise other people. I was building a network. I’m a super connector. And that’s how we started DeCentraNet and got involved in all the blockchain and decentralization stuff. [00:08:06][189.2]

Ronan: [00:08:06] This just came up on a call. I work with a gentleman named Erwin Perlman as part of my personal growth efforts. And one of the things that we delve into at quite length yesterday was actually about the concepts of reality and how quantum physics supports the notion that a lot of spiritualists would offer, which is the present isn’t stepping off the past or pulling the future into the present. And he said, if you look at the way quantum physics works, that’s actually supported by quantum physics. And I haven’t actually dug into that. But curious to know if you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about quantum physics and the essence of reality and the format of reality and where you are, because, you know, obviously there’s no perfect answers yet, but a lot of interesting topics to be had there in conversations. [00:08:52][46.1]

Matt: [00:08:54] I have thought a lot about this and quantum physics, I did, I did get a B in my undergrad physics class, and I was very proud of myself to be able to do all of the mathematics that was required there. But stepping back from doing all of the math, the conceptual is is more interesting. And I do fundamentally believe that we as humans and as conscious beings have the ability to kind of effect our reality with our conscious intentions. And I think that’s seen in a lot of ways through the placebo effect where we essentially are taking something that is inert or is a sugar pill. And we really believe that is going to heal us. And it’s not the understood phenomenon in the sense that it’s always there and they have to account for it. But we don’t understand why. And so I, I think that we have- our consciousness is something that absolutely can affect how things play out in this universe. And I think quantum mechanics is one of those things that essentially attempts to try to explain it, even though it doesn’t really fit with any of the classical side of things. [00:10:06][72.5]

Ronan: [00:10:07] Absolutely. I commented recently about how the placebo effect is so cool. You know, it gets dismissed in society or science as being like this legacy thing of like, oh, it didn’t work any better than placebo. It’s like but the placebo is it literally people using their minds to heal themselves? Like, how cool is that? Why do we diminish the worth of that? [00:10:25][18.0]

Matt: [00:10:25] How do we enhance that? That’s my question. How do we enhance the placebo effect? Like if we can study just that and say, OK, what are the things that you can do that the placebo effect is more effective and can get that greater and greater and greater and potentially psychedelics have that mind manifesting power to do so? [00:10:41][16.1]

Ronan: [00:10:42] Absolutely. And Ted, going back to one of the things you said, the human mind is I think you said it is the the most important asset that matters. And it’s it’s really interesting kind of point, because one of the things that I’ve said to my stepson who’s at university and I kind of advocate to anybody who is trying to think about what their future is and what they should study. And I keep coming back to the place that anything that’s logic driven will always, not immediately it may not be the case yet, but in the not too distant future, anything that’s logic driven will always be done better by computers than by humans. It’s just easy. I mean, that’s what computers do. They’re designed to that. What computers can’t do and I’m not sure we’ll be able to do is make leaps of logic, which is where creativity is when you don’t have the continuity involved in coming to a conclusion. That’s when creativity is involved. That’s the leap where you don’t have the nexus, but you’ve got to make a decision on where to land. And how did you get there personally? What kind of was the aha moment that that brought you to the realization? [00:11:42][60.6]

Ted: [00:11:43] One of the things that really brought me to the realization was just acknowledging that what we choose to build and how we choose to implement tech in the world is really just more a reflection of our values and what we choose to care about than anything else. And just noticing in myself what the things were that we’re really having huge shifts for me right. So people talk really often about how psychedelics make them feel more part of nature. Right. Instead of being like masters to exploit nature, we feel a part of it. Right. If you don’t have that, like, why do you care about climate change? Like, why do you care about, like, acidification of the ocean? Like why do you care about deforestation? If that’s something that’s external from you, that doesn’t matter in your life day to day. Like you’re, of course, not going to care about those things. Right. You know, similarly, like, if you have not had the experience of having psychedelics and recognizing that all men, all humans are brothers and sisters. Right. Like, of course, you don’t care about the plight of these other people. And so I think for me, it was just going through these experiences and developing my own sense of being a part of nature rather than distinct from it. Going through these experiences and having true empathy for the first time, really feeling what someone else was feeling rather than like an intellectualization of feeling, you know, for me just made me care so much more about these things. And so, you know, like the answer for me is pretty simple, like having the experiences with these psychedelics really shifted me. And then what it made me realize is, oh, you know, the problem isn’t that we don’t have the right desalination technology. It’s people aren’t talking about this, people aren’t putting effort into it because they just don’t care, because they don’t realize that they are a part of the system. And if we can just make them realize what I see as the real nature of of reality and how we interact with the Earth, that will completely shift their perspective and they’ll start to have the caring to where they won’t be able to ignore these problems anymore. [00:13:44][120.7]

Ronan: [00:13:45] I love that. And, you know, you touched on the over intellectualization of our emotions, and that’s something that I’m guilty of. Like, I suspect most Jewish men, most men, probably most people in particular are very guilty of, which was like it took me a long time to understand that emotions are emotions. And when you feel something, even if it’s ineffable and very often it is ineffable, it’s very different and it touches you in a different way. You know, I’d like to say, like, beauty is a transformative energy. When you experience beauty, it’s always been touched by you. But how do you describe it? Can you put it into words that actually mean something to anybody? No, it’s basically impossible. But I think it’s a really important consideration as we go forward. One of the things I did want to touch on first, and I think it’d be helpful A) for me because I’m not that educated in it, but certainly for anybody who may be listening, there’s a lot of overlap between psychedelics and blockchain and psychedelic and crypto, the people who are interested in both subjects. But for someone who isn’t necessarily understanding what block chain is or how it’s not crypto or Bitcoin is an application of blockchain, can either of you, both of you kind of give a very elementary understanding of how it works and start to lean into some of the implications of what that means. And then we can go into it and more depth after that [00:15:11][86.1]

Ted: [00:15:12] To set the framing for people up front. Right. I think the what it is matters a lot less than the why it is. Right. You don’t have to understand, like TCP IP protocols to appreciate what the Internet is doing for us. Right. You don’t need to understand the mechanics of a blockchain to appreciate what it’s doing for us. You know, I think when we look at this overlap between the two, what it’s really about is freedom and sovereignty more than anything else. Right. So I believe that psychedelics are about cognitive liberty and stepping outside of the existing structures and institutions, you know, that we’ve had for mental health to this point. Right. Similarly, blockchain technology is about stepping in cryptocurrency. It’s about stepping outside of the traditional banking system in traditional financial system. Right. And so I think, you know, the reason that these things are having a moment in society right now is that people are seeing the failures of these existing structures and institutions for the first time. Right. I think we now are realizing. Banks don’t necessarily have our best interests at heart, right, and I know I’m generalizing when I say like big banks, I think people understand what I mean when I say that. Right, that they’re a little bit more exploitative, that they’re a little bit more rent seeking than than what we might like and that they’re really not aligned with the interests of the people who are supporting them. Right. Similarly, we’re seeing this mental health renaissance in psychedelics because of the failures of this traditional pharmaceutical approach. We realize that SSRIs are a Band-Aid and not a cure. We realize that in 30 minutes of like a psychedelic assisted psychotherapy session, people can have better results than years and years and years of talk therapy. Right. And so I think really what we’re asking is, are we being served by the traditional ways of doing things and how can we opt out and and build our own way in parallel to them? [00:17:08][115.7]

Matt: [00:17:08] I always start with the explanation of blockchain and cryptocurrency. I always had an Uber driver explanation because in 2017 I was in a million different Ubers. And they said, what, what do you do. Well, I work in Bitcoin. Oh, what’s that. So my really simple explanation, it does actually go back to TCPIP. TCPIP is the protocol on the Internet where we can send packets of information from one computer on a network to another and we don’t care what those pieces of information are. We just know that when I type on something, that information is transferred across the network. We then have HTTP for websites. That’s the protocol so that everyone can build some sort of website on there. And we don’t know how that works, but we design websites all the time with Squarespace and WordPress and easy to use tools. We have email, SMTP, which is the simple text mail protocol. We have Matt at Gmail, dot com or whatever it is. And I just know that that works. And if you send an email to Matt at Gmail dot com, I get that. We’ve never had a protocol for transferring value or money on the Internet without really large centralized institutions that have to keep all the records, that have to be processed, all the transactions and all the regulations that go with that. So Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are the first time ever where I can send you a scarce unit of value from one account to another. And there’s no intermediary in between that. So there’s no one that can say, yes, this is going to go through because I said so. And there’s no one that can kind of go back and cook the books. So once we write a transaction to this worldwide accounting ledger, if you will, which is a blockchain, we we know that it’s permanent and no one can go back in a race. And the first app of this type of protocol is that transfer of the unit of account, free of any other types of restrictions proven by mathematical regulation instead of people regulation, because there’s a lot of power that comes with financial regulation and kind of owning the money supply. On top of that, you can then design programs that do other types of financial applications and figure out how we govern the money and the property that’s represented on this worldwide accounting ledger. And one of the simple ones that’s really easy to explain is a smart contract. And so it’s an if then statement. And if these things happen, transfer the money over here. And so we can do all kinds of business logic with that, the simplest form of a smart contract before blockhcains was a vending machine. I put a dollar into the thing. I hit B2 on the thing. I get my Snickers bar, or at least I hope I get my Snickers bar right because I’m trusting that the software on the vending machine is actually going to give me what I say because I can’t read it. I can’t see it, but I’m not going to use that vending machine if I don’t get the Snickers bar. And so a smart contract is something that we all can read and we know what the consequences are when we interact with that. It’s an open source business logic that I can do business with anyone in the world and transact financially. And we know what’s going to happen in between that. It definitely democratizes access to things that were only for Wall Street firms and very large financial institutions prior to the application or the invention of Bitcoin and blockchain. [00:20:25][196.9]

Ronan: [00:20:26] If I’m thinking about it in its monetary applications, it’s like way, way long ago when gold was money, the proof of ownership was in the holding the gold. Right. As soon as we went to a system of paper money and banking, you know, if I wrote a check to you, then you would have to deposit the check. And then what happens is someone at the bank takes the money from Matt’s account and puts it into my account or vice versa. And they become the de facto record keeper of who has money. Whereas prior to that you, by possession, holding of money, you were the de facto owner and that was proof of ownership. And so with blockchain, what happens is you kind of go back to that old system where it’s almost the holding law. Well, I guess you’re eliminating the middleman, right? Which is you no longer need the bank to make the ledger entries to move money from my account to Matt’s account. I can do it directly and no one else needs to be involved, and that’s kind of the most fundamental application of blockchain and then it kind of scales up from there. [00:21:27][60.8]

Matt: [00:21:27] That’s exactly correct. [00:21:28][0.8]

Ronan: [00:21:28] This is going to be a deep question, and you’ve already flagged your answers. But I’d love to probe into it further, which is, is decentralizing control over things like money is actually a good thing. And let me frame that question, which I’ve been reading. Yuval Noah Harari’s book Homo Deus, and he talks about how power and order throughout history. And if you look at some of the most significant achievements in humanity, whether you go back to ancient Rome or ancient Egypt or any significant culture along the way, very often in those environments, it was not decentralized power structures. There was a clear power order of the elites and everybody else. And as much as that may not appeal to our probably inherent inclinations towards equality and equity as being thoughtful, modern people, there’s an argument to be said that that worked and maybe that is how it’s supposed to be worked. So that is how it’s supposed to work. Or is the best system? So, you know, going deeper on that is decentralizing consciousness or consciousness expansion through psychedelics on a mass scale, actually something that we want. It seems really cool and certainly on an individualized level, it sounds great. But when you scale it up or have you gone that far to say what does the system looks like and how is it so much better than what we have right now? Is is it a good thing? So I turn that back over to you. [00:23:02][93.5]

Ted: [00:23:03] Centralization, decentralization exists on a spectrum, right? There are many people in our community who, you know, like would stand in the street with a pitchfork and scream, like decentralize all the things! Right. And I don’t think that’s the answer. You know, part of the tension between them is that centralization is inherently very efficient, oftentimes much more so than decentralization. And so I think, at least for me, the answer is things are far too centralized now and we have to move in the direction of decentralization. But it’s not necessarily the answer. Right. And it’s not going to be this panacea that I think many people make it out to be and psychedelics are not always the answer. And there are a lot of people who should probably not be using them. And, you know, there’s something that inherently is sort of lost when we have the sort of pure decentralization of psychedelic experience. I mean, it used to be that we had these very strong gatekeepers to epiphanic experiences right. I mean, historically, you had to go through some sort of rite of passage in order to access them, or you had to be a learned elder within your tribe or you came from this lineage of people, you know, who who was passing it down as a part of this tradition. And, you know, some people say, oh, that’s centralization of these plant medicines. Right. But like, I don’t feel like there’s something inherently wrong about that. There’s a ton of value to that. Right. When we sort of just open the gates to like any Brooklyn basement shaman, like there’s something that we find a little bit distasteful about that. And I think rightly so. And so I think it’s the exact same type of argument. Right. What I do know is that we have far too much centralization now and we need to at least move in that direction and see which of our experiments do we like and which ones do we want to keep and which ones should we say, hey, that was a fun and interesting experiment. Maybe let’s not continue down this path. [00:24:58][115.2]

Ronan: [00:24:59] What makes you think that we have far too much centralization? Because you see people going out and being like capitalism is ruining everything and capitalism is terrible or any insert ideology or something in here. And you’ll have someone who is saying it’s the end of the world. And then, you know, it’s so easy to get sucked into that modality of all of these terrible things, climate crisis, poverty. And then you take a step back and you look at the fact that it’s not perfect, but a capitalist system that has largely been driving the last hundred years of society or so has led to less people in poverty in the history, less people hungry in history, less wars than ever in history. And so, like, yeah, it’s it’s not a perfect system. But that’s not to say I know of a better system. So why are you convinced that decentralization, even if you’re just moving in on the spectrum, is better than where we are right now [00:25:55][56.5]

Ted: [00:25:56] To give an example of what I mean by this financial centralization. So I remember during the first Obama administration, it just so happened that every single person who is on the Federal Reserve, which is essentially responsible for US monetary policy, it was like 90 percent of them had studied under the same one professor at Princeton in the nineteen seventies. We have this collection of old white men who all have the exact same teacher and who all have a very similar perspective on economics right. Something about that doesn’t seem quite right to me, like something says that there’s a lot more perspectives out there that should come into the way that we organize our economy and the way that we do money, right? And so I think we need to have broader perspectives of people in the system. And we need to also just ask the question of like. Who is really receiving the value of this system, right? I mean, the Federal Reserve, it’s not a part of the government, it’s a private body right, that acts in concert with it. It’s largely headed by people who were formerly the CEOs of all the largest banks. So it’s not this great leap to say that, like, the way it is structured is having the value in order to one group of people. And I think this ties in perfectly to the sort of discussion around the congruency of psychedelics and capitalism. Right. I’m someone who thinks that they can live in harmony, often within the psychedelic movement, there is this sort of false argument of like for profit, bad nonprofit, good, like I have worked at corporations with incredible values. I have worked at nonprofits that were completely dysfunctional and that are not going to get a whole lot done. And so I think, you know, part of what we have to recognize is that, you know, early on in this capitalist model, as we bring psychedelics more to the forefront, we’re going to see a lot of competition. And that’s going to bring forth incredible solutions. Right? The market brings forth invention and ingenuity and things. And that’s incredible. Right. What we see happen over time, though, is as some of these companies get big enough, they begin to entrench themselves and they begin to lobby for rules that out newcomers and that shadow innovation under the auspices of safety and things. Right. You know, our regulators can be bought. We have seen that happen in many contexts, right. In the traditional health care system. You know, we’re seeing it now. And so I think, you know, we have to just acknowledge that there is a tension there. But we have to not be so naive as to say, oh, you know, capitalism is bad and the two can’t exist together because that’s not the answer either. [00:28:18][142.0]

Matt: [00:28:18] One of the big tenets here is about open sourcing institutions and having the freedom of choice to have for your money or for the value systems that you want to participate in. And so right now, or prior to cryptocurrencies, you have a money system that you have to use. Let’s say you’re living in the United States. There’s a geographical area in which you live in and you have to use this money system and there is no other choice and you have no way of competing with it because it’s illegal. That doesn’t allow for innovation. That only allows for kind of more centralization, compartmentalization of power. There’s no, very little accountability and understanding of what’s going on in the system. Flip that to when Bitcoin is invented. We’ve open source the institution of money. Now anyone can create their own form and you don’t have to join that form. You can join the one of value that you agree with the values of that money system. I like to liken it to the the Reformation. So in the religious reformation, we open source the institution of the Catholic Church. We translated it into from from Latin into German, and we published it. And everyone could choose which version of the Catholic Church, the church that they wanted to. And so as we open source and decentralize, but as we have choice of our our money systems, we’re going to have competition and we’re going to have the ones that greater number of people believe in and want to use. [00:29:53][95.2]

Ronan: [00:29:54] One other question I had was the monetary system that we have right now, it’s a construct, but it’s a construct that evolved from experience right. And the reason that we have a single US currency or a single Canadian currency was because it was horribly inefficient to have each state having its own currency. So how do you address the inefficiencies inherent in potentially people opting into their own currency systems? And or how do you stop the either factionalization or the consolidation of power to address these these concerns? Is this something that’s contemplated in these systems already? And they may be, but it’s just a question that came to mind. [00:30:33][39.0]

Ted: [00:30:34] I mean, this is what we spend all of our time thinking about, right? There’s a conceptual piece. And then and then there’s a technical piece right. So, you know, just thinking about the technical piece that’s a little bit easier, back at the time of the constitutional Congress in the US and and back in the day in Canada, like having a bunch of different currencies was really technically impractical. Let’s say I live in California and you’re in Ontario and you bring me your Ontario dollars, right? Well, in the eighteen hundreds, there was no way for me to know, hey, what’s this Ontario dollar worth? Does this person actually have good credit back in Ontario? Like, I’m going to write a letter and be like, hey, does Ronan actually have this money in his bank? Is this legit currency? And then I wait two weeks and they send it back and then a month later, I’m like, Ronan, let’s do this, man. We’re cool, right? Well, we’ve solved that problem, right? Because of the Internet. I can immediately get the answer as to your credit worthiness and the value of of that currency. Right. And so I think there was a practical problem there of it’s a lot easier to have one because we’re all sort of like on the same playing field and we get rid of those concerns. Right. Then there’s also the philosophical one of, it’s kind of a pain to carry around in my wallet like money from all these different places and things, and then also just the notion of like if we want to have one that we all sort of agree on as money, do we want to have this collective delusion of value. And we’ve decided that we want to have it around one right now. But there’s no reason that it needs to be that way. So I think as we solve the sort of technological problems of it, to me, it just opens up the ability to have the more philosophical discussion around a bunch when they’re not. And keeping in mind that, like, fractionalization might not be ideal. But when any one token or currency is instantly transferable into any other one, it doesn’t actually seem like it’s that much of a problem for me. [00:32:23][109.1]

Ronan: [00:32:23] As long as you have a system. And I don’t know enough about how these exchanges work, but as soon as you put an exchange in the equation, you essentially have a bank account, right? There’s an element of trust that’s going to be involved. So, again, I’m not I’m not trying to disagree with you, but it’s one of the things that just comes to mind as I think about it being like, yeah, and it makes it a really interesting problem. [00:32:43][19.5]

Ted: [00:32:43] Yeah. It’s an important point that you you you don’t have a bank account, though, like you are your own bank now. Right. Like I literally have a bank on my phone. I mean, if I want to take a loan out, I can have one hundred thousand dollars in my pocket and literally two minutes, right? Like this is part of defined decentralized finances. Everyone has their own bank and we use math to prove it. There’s no real trust that’s involved there. Right. It’s trust in mathematics and cryptography, not in like a person or a value. [00:33:12][29.0]

Matt: [00:33:13] One of the biggest things that gets solved with community currencies is the liquidity problem. So how do you take some sort of currency that’s liquid in one place, go over there and actually started using it? And that’s one of the biggest problems. Bancor is a really interesting protocol that really studied a lot of different monetary systems and aimed essentially to be the protocol that allows for liquidity among all types of community currencies in an understood manner and for anyone to kind of issue theirs. So they’re out of Tel Aviv, a guy Ben Artzi and a number of them in twenty seventeen. I got to hang out with them a lot. And I learned a lot about how they thought about the problems. And I would just say that, that we will be able to have instant liquidity among any of those. There will be, they were a nonprofit foundation. They weren’t for profit. So there was not the problem of a centralized exchange that has to make money all the time in order for them to hold your token. And so I would say that those are definitely technological problems that can be solved with this internet of money that we have. And everyone was able to create their own blog post or create their own blog back in the day. And now everyone is able to create their own systems of value. And most people’s blogs were not read by most people. And most people’s currencies, if you create them, are not going to be used by most people. [00:34:39][85.6]

Ronan: [00:34:45] It’s been said that our individuality is all that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole of society. But blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in grace and love and wit, from a peculiar station to a peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route. And I don’t think I could summarize the interest in psychedelics and blockchain technology more than this. Throughout human history, we have lived in systems where power has generally been aggregated amongst the few, and at least in terms of societal and cultural achievement, it has worked well. We’ve built incredible empires, developed technology that is literally mind blowing and started to probe some of the most deeply held mysteries of the universe. Yet all that seems to be changing. More and more people are demanding the right to be whatever they want to be. While certainly lip service was paid to this in some of the founding documents of democracy, we didn’t have the systems or institutions to actually make that possible. Now we do. Blockchain technologies are enabling our societies to remove power from a centralized, aggregated view, and psychedelics are giving us the ability to understand and lean into who we are individually on a much deeper level. This means that we’re standing pretty close to a point where every single one of us will be able to lean into our individuality as we moved from station to station. Is this a good thing? I hope so. Truth is, I don’t know. But that comes back to one of the most interesting questions that was asked during this podcast with Matt and Ted. What does a better future look like? Answer me that. And you may have found that morning star. [00:36:35][109.2]

Ronan: [00:36:39] Both of you seem very interested in what I’d call the design of the future. You mentioned at the opening that your investing business is building the future, but what does an ideal future actually look like? I’m certainly guilty of this as well. And I like to think the work we’re doing, at Field Trip is helping craft a better future. But the truth is, I don’t actually know what a better future looks like. And if we look back, the old ideals of the future turned out to be way off. Look at the Jetsons. They offered a view of the world where all menial tasks have been outsourced to robots, where we would have all we would have is leisure time. But here we are in 2021. And the truth is, for at least the three of us on this conversation and most people listening to this podcast and all that kind of stuff, it’s like most menial tasks can, can and have been outsourced. You know, there’s not a lot we have to do truthfully on a day to day basis. But here we are should have more leisure than ever. But all of us are working harder than ever. And truthfully, most of us are probably more miserable than ever. And so what was crafted as this ideal heaven like future of not having any responsibility in terms of day to day execution of what it means to kind of be alive? Turns out to be pretty a pretty big miss. And so as we think about designing the future, what does an ideal future look like to you in the next 50 or 100 years? [00:38:01][81.6]

Ted: [00:38:01] You know, when I talk about building the future, I think what I’m really doing is, you know, building tools and technologies that will enable us to ask that question from a better place. So what I mean by that is, you know, in the case of psychedelics, like being able to be really present, right. To get rid of some of the anxiety that clouds our judgment to get rid of our insecurities, to not be making decisions and asking questions from a place of like what other people think of me. Right. But instead, you know, just really tapping into the self and asking, what do I want? That’s a place that a lot of people never, ever get to at all in their lives. Right. And so we’re trying to set that type of conditions right. You know the work that I do in genetics and precision medicine and longevity. It’s not that like living to three hundred is like this amazing goal kind of in and of itself. Right. But, you know, it’s a recognition that, like, when people are in pain and when people are in sickness, they’re not able to have that clarity of mind again, of asking, like, what do I really want from my life? All we’re concerned about is how do we get rid of this immediate thing that’s like hurting me. Right. And so when we bring people health and we bring people stillness, we bring people presents and we bring people to a place that’s less ego driven and more tapping into self or soul or whatever it is that you want to call it. We at least can ask these questions from an honest place about what we want from the future, and I think that’s the real goal for us right now, is let’s get everyone on the same page, you know, in that sense, and then we’ll have a much better chance of actually building the tech and tools that we want to see happen. [00:39:40][98.9]

Matt: [00:39:41] My thoughts are are very similar in the sense that the future is is bringing everyone up to an equal level of being able to innovate and provide humanity and and everyone else like services and get them out of poverty. Let’s get them all into the ability to interact and innovate with each other. And I think we’re doing that very rapidly as we kind of see poverty levels have gone down to I mean, it’s less than 10 percent is less than five percent. And we’ve had never had such an abundance of wealth there. And getting the rest of the couple billion people onto the Internet and onto the Internet of money and healing a tremendous amount of trauma that has occurred in human history through these new medicines and psychedelics. Because, you know, if we are going to build the future and if we are going to be able to potentially live for a really long time, you know, we we don’t want the traumas and the ingrained problems that we’ve had in the past to affect how we build the future. [00:40:46][65.4]

Ronan: [00:40:47] How do you foresee and how do you hope that the psychedelics movement and I’m always cautious about calling it an industry because I know that imports a whole bunch of elements into the narrative. But how do you see the psychedelic movement evolving and how do you hope it evolves? [00:41:00][13.2]

Ted: [00:41:01] For the next few years, we’re going to have this sort of, you know, mad capitalistic rush and it’s just how do we go to market as fast as we can and how do we acquire customers as fast as we can? And and that’s going to happen, right? I think that’s kind of a bit of a foregone conclusion. But then, you know, on the tail of that, we have another opportunity, which is selection between different players in the space and seeing the values that each of them are bringing to the table and having a choice of kind of which direction we we want to go in right, it takes until we have, like, you know, whatever the Yelp is for psychedelic therapy companies. And we can review them. And we have, you know, thousands of reviews, I can make decisions about which ones are best, right? I think there’s some serious soul searching that’s going to have to happen in the industry because I don’t think we even have an answer to that question yet of like, do these substances work well in a clinical context? Right. I don’t know if we know. I don’t know if we lose something when we remove them from the Amazonian jungle. I don’t know if we know what happens when we take this, you know, overly pharmaceuticalized reductivist approach to single compound if these things are going to continue to do what they have been doing right. We don’t know if we can even measure the benefits. I mean, I have had, you know, benefits from psychedelics that are just so ineffable and so like meta-linguistic that like I would be cheapening the experience to even try and describe it. Like, how do you as your company even try to measure that? Like, as someone who runs a wellness company, like our consumers are looking for answers, like we have to almost in business say like take this, it will do this for you, it will fix this problem. But psychedelics don’t work that way. You know, we don’t always have the sort of like one to one. We don’t always know what what they’re going to do for us. And so, you know, my hope more than anything is that we just continue to experiment and twist all the knobs at our disposal and trying to figure out what’s working well for people and that we just keep an open mind that, you know, we don’t have all the answers. And it’s going to take a lot of experimentation to kind of figure out what works. And my hope is that we have a little bit of a shift in the way that we do, like clinical testing and drug discovery in general that allows us to work with more complex compounds as opposed to a single molecule and things like that. [00:43:19][138.4]

Matt: [00:43:20] One of the things that I think is really important to note is that it is shifting each and every person, all of the regulators, all of the people in government, everyone that has an experience is fundamentally shifted and maybe, hopefully and mostly positive experiences. I think these tools will end up I want to see them being used in negotiations. I want to be able to see them being used by heads of state. And instead of going into, like, argue and go to war, I’d rather them see them go do an ayahuasca ceremony together. I would rather see these tools evolve not just as like a drug that you take for cognitive enhancement or like, here, take this fix you. It’ll make you better kind of thing. I want to see them being used for collective consensus making on a much greater scale. And so, like I always kind of joked around, I lived in Washington, D.C. I was like, you know, we’ll know we’ve won when the Lincoln Bedroom becomes an ayahuasca ceremony chamber. And that’s why they need to have people come in and they go to the ceremony and then they work out what the issues are between the countries in between the different parties. And so that’s my hope for this industry, is it becomes a collective consensus making tool that allows us to not just have win lose situations, but we come to consensus. [00:44:39][79.2]

Ronan: [00:44:40] Psychedelics certainly help you become aware of of the oneness of, truthfully, the universe like I was thinking about. And maybe I have too much time on my hands. But the other day I was thinking about how the notion of where my body ends and the air around me starts. It’s an artificial distinction, right, know, just like one part of the ocean still touches the other part of the ocean, there’s no difference between my hand touching the air here or here. And so it’s like I am literally a part of the earth. Yes, there’s a definition between us, but I’m touching it. I influence that. It impacts me. Know, the notion that I’m separate from it is such an artificial concept on that note, which was something that sounds like it got inspired by a psychedelic experience. One of the questions I always like to ask our guests is, is there any particular psychedelic experience that stands out to you as being really transformative? And what what did you see, what did you become aware of during that experience that altered the course of your life and ideally a positive way, but it could also be a negative way. I think we need to be real about that. It’s not. But I guess philosophically that like all of life is to be experienced. And as long as you have the right lens on it, all of them can be positive. But what has been a really meaningful experience for you and what awareness came out of it? [00:46:00][80.1]

Ted: [00:46:01] I have a few that are particularly profound. I’ll share one, maybe, maybe two of them. So, you know, one is my very first psychedelic experience. I had the opportunity to try some LSD in college and I went to school at UCF, which is in Orlando. And one day at like 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., we drove out to Cocoa Beach, took a hit of acid, or really more like a couple of hits on the beach in the dark. And then we started coming up as the sunrise was coming up, which is a really powerful thing to see. And, you know, we were at the beach and out playing in the water. And the one realization that I had that was most profound to me is the exact one that you just described of like, wait, my body is 70 something percent water. I’m in the water. Like, where does my water and another other begin and realize that barrier was artificial and then realized that I was connected to someone in the ocean on the other side of the world. Right. And sort of feeling that oneness. But another one that came out of that that was really profound for me was one of my buddies who I was with, you know, was just sort of acting weird. Right. And I was feeling really nervous that someone’s going to, like, figure out that we were doing drugs, and like call the cops on or something. And and at one point, like now in the morning, with a beach full of people, we’re splashing the water and he starts screaming over and over again. I’m on acid. I’m on acid. And I was freaking out, OK, but after about 20 seconds of doing this, I realized that no one was paying attention to us and nobody cared at all. And what I took from that was like people are looking at us and judging us less than what we think. And so many decisions that I was making in my life were coming from a place of what will other people think of me? How am I being perceived by others? And I had never really acted from this place of like, what is my joy? Like, he just wanted to be screaming that and announcing it to the world in that moment. And there’s something that is really beautiful about that. And since that moment, I have really just released so much of my anxiety of how am I be perceived by others? And I’ve just been so much more willing to to let my inner weird out, you know, without fear of judgment. [00:48:09][127.9]

Matt: [00:48:09] My first DMT experience was on December 21st 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar. I was cohosting, I was cohosting a podcast with my my friend who who hosted this libertarian podcast. It was a crypto party and I got to actually learn what a blockchain was for the first time. So I interviewed this guy and then I got to use DMT for the first time. And I had wanted I’ve been a big fan of Graham Hancock and read DMT: The Spirit Molecule already. And and a lot of changes in my life happened very rapidly after that. I broke up with my girlfriend and I realized exactly I needed to go and become an entrepreneur. And and then secondly, I had my first MDMA experience and it was partially helped by by Ted and researching what that was. And like the whole traditional it puts holes in your brain and it’s bad and it’s terrible. And what the cultural conditioning around it was and then going and researching like what the all the studies were and finding Maps and finding rollsafe.org and finding all of these different other sources of information and realizing why isn’t there a clinic for this on every other street corner? This is one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had, a connection and emotional intelligence. And finally, I had my first ayahuasca ceremony in 2014. And I was so angry with the existing system of of of money and governance. I was living in Washington, D.C., and it caused my communication to suffer. I was just so angry and frustrated and angsty. And there was a moment, very specific moment where the catharsis hit in the integration of the ayahuasca experience, where a song by Nahko and Medicine for the People came on and it’s called Manifesto, and it it lives with me as one of the most like I tear up every time I hear and it says, don’t waste your hate, but rather gather and create, find your medicine and use it. And it just a wall of emotion because it was so true in that moment of like go build the solution, stop arguing about the problems with people and go help build the solutions, criticize by creating. That’s the most transformative one by far. [00:50:24][134.8]

Ronan: [00:50:25] Thank you both so much for joining and sharing these insights. It’s been it’s definitely been thought provoking and it’s really awesome to hear, you know, very smart, capable, experienced people thinking about some of the biggest problems, both as a as a global society as well as what’s happening with psychedelics and how we create a future and design a future that we’re all trying to work towards as hard as it is to describe or to characterize. We all seem to be pushing in the same direction. And it’s great to to be along with you on the ride and to have you participate here today. So so thank you. [00:51:06][40.5]

Ted: [00:51:06] Thank you so much for having us. It’s really wonderful to have this conversation. I remember, you know, when Matt and I started doing this advocacy, you know, individually maybe 10 years ago and then professionally five years ago. We’re sort of on the front lines taking arrows and taking criticism. And, you know, our families and friends were telling us, like, you guys are about to ruin your careers. And and we have been laughed at and we have lost business because of this. And I can say back then, the reason that we chose to do it anyways was knowing that eventually podcasts like this would exist and that we want to be a part of the conversation when they happened. And so thank you for being the person who who is making this happen and allowing us to have these conversations now, because this has been the dream all along. [00:51:51][44.8]

Ronan: [00:51:53] Awesome, and isn’t it so delightful to do what other people tell you you cannot do? It’s one of it’s been one of my most central modus operandi themes of like if you tell me I can’t do it, I will show you. I can. [00:52:04][11.3]

Ronan: [00:52:10] My eye opening conversation with Matt and Ted led to some profound insights on how crypto like psychedelics are changing our perspective on the world around us. Here are a few key insights. First, the most important technology that matters is the human mind or the human OS, as Ted likes to call it. It’s easy to ignore it, but our entire experience as people is purely and totally subjective, being made up by our brains as we go. There is no possible way yet, at least to show that there’s anything resembling what we might call an objective reality. So focusing on our subjective experiences seems like a good place to lean into. It’s good to have people like Matt and Ted in this world who can offer a balanced spectrum on the potential benefits and limitations of decentralization. Too often in our society it’s an all or nothing equation, particularly when it comes to psychedelics and blockchain so it’s good to know that there are people who have textured and well considered views of just how far we should move on the path to decentralization. Finally, my conversation with Matt and Ted was a good reminder that science, history, economics, spirituality and quantum physics are tools used to understand the world and the universe. But they do not define it. As Tom Robbins says, we’re making it up the world, the universe, life, reality, especially reality. Let’s not forget that. The placebo effect is a perfect example. [00:53:44][94.4]

Ronan: [00:53:53] Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I’m your host, Ronan Levy. Until next time, stay curious. Breathe properly. And remember, every day is a Field Trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping thing is created by Ronan Levy and produced by Conrad Page. Our researcher is Sharon Bhella. Special thanks to Quill. And of course, many thanks to Ted Moscovitz and Matt McKibbon for joining me today. Learn more about their work at the DeCentraNet.com. Finally, subscribe to our podcast and sign up for our newsletter at FieldTripping.FM. [00:53:53][0.0]