University Speaker Takes Ayahuasca, Shills Bitcoin, Gets Booed

The boos from 60,000 new Ohio State University graduates and their guests swelled as alum and commencement speaker Chris Pan explained: “I see Bitcoin as a very misunderstood asset class.”

Throughout history, Ohio State’s commencement speech has been delivered by notable figures including former President Barack Obama, former U.S. Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

This year it was Pan, a 1999 OSU alum who’s since gone on to become a social entrepreneur, musician, and inspirational speaker, who did the honors.

“It is decentralized and finite which means no government can print more at will,” he said to a stadium full of graduates about BTC. “In the early days, the exchanges for Bitcoin were prone to hacks and fraud. But this issue has been solved with the recent launch of Bitcoin ETFs.”

Moans and groans spread across the 60,000 people in attendance, as Pan continued to shill Bitcoin. “This is embarrassing,” a student can be heard saying a circulating video.

Neither Pan nor Ohio State University immediately responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.

A week prior to the speech, the founder of positive-affirmation jewelry business called MyIntent, took to Linkedin to explain that he’d “got some help from AI (Ayahuasca Intelligence)” to write his speech. People later took to Pan’s Linkedin post to chastise him for using the speech as a “Bitcoin and bracelet ad.”

But the psychedelic fueled writing session didn’t lead to an inspiring message about ego and spirituality, but rather a lecture for “alpha males” about inflation and digital currency. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the drugs seemed to kick in when Pan walked past the lectern to give a Michael Scott-esque karaoke rendition of “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes. He later also sang the Harry Dixon Loes classic, “This Little Light of Mine.”

“I didn’t go to give a speech,” Pan said in an Instagram story after the event. “I went to share truth so we stop funding wars. We have to stop the bloodshed.”

While he believed he was changing the world with his Bitcoin speech, some attendees thought it was “the worst commencement speech ever given anywhere.”

According to Ohio local newsletter, The Rooster, Pan had bigger visions including “a shirtless dance number” which the university requested to be removed. And according to other sources that spoke with The Rooster, Pan was “very angry” and “the worst person” the source had ever worked with leading up to the ill-fated commencement speech.

There’s also a sobering fact about the OSU commencement: While the speech was going on, a person died after falling from the stands in the stadium. Some believed that the ceremony continuing, despite this shocking news, was distasteful—especially since there was no acknowledgement of the dire situation.

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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