College alum surprised that his ayahuasca-inspired speech praising bitcoin got groans and boos

  • An ayahuasca-inspired commencement speech didn't go too well at Ohio State University.

  • Alum and jewelry entrepreneur Chris Pan lauded bitcoin and sang songs. He got booed.

  • Pan said he was surprised by the hate and wants to talk to his critics.

A commencement address at Ohio State University (OSU) over the weekend took a wild detour.

Speaker Christopher Pan lauded the benefits of bitcoin — prompting groans and boos from the college students gathered in the stadium.

But Pan tells Business Insider he was surprised and pained that his well-intentioned speech became overshadowed by a "bitcoin rabbit hole," and that he's talking with angry detractors on social media in order to grow from the experience.

During his remarks on Sunday, Pan — an OSU grad who founded the inspirational jewelry brand MyIntent — called the cryptocurrency "a very misunderstood asset class," as the audience booed, according to a video posted on Reddit.

The boos could even be heard on the school's livestream of the speech, which featured Pan putting up a slide comparing bitcoin's value to that of a home.

He then did a magic trick on stage — calling up the university's president and turning quarters into a golden physical bitcoin.

He then tried to lead sing-a-longs and sang "What's Going On?" by the 4 Non Blondes and "This Little Light of Mine."

During the speech, he promised audience members free bracelets from MyIntent as an apology for the bitcoin remarks.

It was an unconventional address, to say the least.

"Would I have done it differently knowing what I know now? Yeah."

Before the commencement, Pan wrote on LinkedIn that he'd taken ayahuasca to help prepare the speech.

Pan told BI that he's been working with ayahuasca since 2019 to heal lifelong bullying. OSU even operates a psychedelic research center, he noted.

He also told BI that he'd always intended to donate the bracelets, which he said cost his company $250,000.

The taunts in and out of the stadium were painful, he told BI.

"Have you ever been booed by 70,000 people? It fucking hurt," Pan said. "I've never experienced this much hate in my life."

He said he only brought bitcoin up to underscore the importance of investing, having gotten into the cryptocurrency himself three months ago.

Still, bitcoin supporters have been cheering him online, and Pan said he thinks the hate was coming from a "vocal minority."

"I came in heart wide open," he said. "I came in wanting to really give the best I could to this community."

In the aftermath of the speech, Pan said he is communicating with angry commenters, while also feeling grateful for support during a difficult time.

He's working on a letter to students and parents to bring whatever resolution he can.

"Do I stand by the speech? A hundred percent because it's my truth," he said. "Would I have done it differently knowing what I know now? Yeah. I would've reshaped it to make it more of a traditional experience."

Read the original article on Business Insider