Commencement Exercises Chaos! Drug-Induced Bitcoin Speech Gets Booed At Ohio State


Commencement speeches are supposed to be inspirational send-offs for graduating students, filled with wisdom and hope for the future. But at Ohio State University’s ceremony this past Sunday, the chosen speaker, Chris Pan, delivered a speech that left many scratching their heads and some downright booing.

Pan, a 1999 graduate and entrepreneur, ignited controversy by admitting on LinkedIn that he wrote the first draft of his speech under the influence of ayahuasca, a powerful psychedelic drug. This revelation was only the beginning of the unusual turn of events.

Bitcoin Takes Center Stage

While many expected Pan to impart conventional wisdom about navigating careers and life after graduation, his speech took a sharp turn towards the world of cryptocurrency. Pan, a self-proclaimed Bitcoin enthusiast, heavily promoted the digital currency as a hedge against inflation, urging graduates to invest.

This endorsement was met with audible boos from the audience, broadcasted live on the university’s livestream.


“Saving isn’t enough anymore,” Pan declared. “Inflation’s out of control, that’s why everything costs more! Bitcoin offers a misunderstood asset class. It’s decentralized and finite, meaning no government can just print more at will.”

Chris Pan, right, discusses Bitcoin in his commencement speech alongside Ohio State President Ted Carter. Photo credit: Ohio State University.

University Clarifies Stance On Bitcoin

Ohio State University was quick to distance itself from Pan’s Bitcoin advocacy. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the specific content but made it clear that they don’t approve commencement speeches beforehand.

The university’s official write-up of the ceremony conspicuously omitted any mention of cryptocurrency, focusing instead on Pan’s message of civility and social responsibility.

Bitcoin is now trading at $64.192. Chart: TradingView

Psychedelic Inspiration Or Publicity Stunt?

Pan’s use of ayahuasca to craft the speech added another layer of eccentricity to the situation. While some might dismiss it as a publicity stunt, others wondered about the impact of such mind-altering substances on the speech’s content.

Unorthodox Methods, Unconventional Message

Regardless of the inspiration, Pan’s core message about overcoming fear and embracing new mindsets resonated with some. He highlighted common barriers to investing – fear, laziness, and closed-mindedness – urging graduates to break free from these limitations.

Pan’s Diverse Background

Pan’s biography offers a glimpse into his unconventional approach. A self-described “social entrepreneur, musician, and inspirational speaker,” his career path has spanned prestigious firms like McKinsey & Company and PepsiCo, along with stints at Facebook and his current venture, MyIntent, a company that creates custom-message bracelets. This eclectic background might explain his willingness to break the mold with his commencement speech.

Lingering Questions

The fallout from Pan’s speech continues. Whether his use of ayahuasca was a genuine creative outlet or a publicity stunt remains unclear. The university’s attempt to distance itself from the Bitcoin promotion raises questions about the control they have over commencement speeches.

Ultimately, Chris Pan’s unorthodox commencement speech will likely be remembered more for the controversy it sparked than for any pearls of wisdom it offered.

Featured image from Shoshana Gordon/Axios, chart from TradingView

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