On December 14, 2017, the Pineapple Fund (pineapplefund.org), set up by an anonymous cryptocurrency philanthropist, donated 59.89 Bitcoin (BTC), with a value of $1,000,000, to the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), as part of a plan to give away over $86 million in BTC to charities and causes around the world.
The Pineapple Fund’s gift will directly fund MAPS’ upcoming Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The cryptocurrency community has rallied behind MAPS’ work, having donated over $120,800 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin since 2013, plus the new support from the Pineapple Fund. These gifts have significantly contributed to MAPS’ international psychedelic research, public education, psychedelic harm reduction, and advocacy projects.
“The Pineapple Fund’s outstanding generosity exemplifies how the growth of cryptocurrency can be leveraged for profound social change,” says MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D. “The blockchain community is helping to lead the way, not only in decentralized technologies and currencies, but in giving the gift of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to the world in order to heal trauma and bring greater compassion to psychiatry and medicine.”
As a non-profit with no government funding for psychedelic research, MAPS relies on contributions from individuals, businesses, and foundations to make psychedelic therapy a legal treatment. MAPS estimates that Phase 3 clinical trials will cost $26 million. With $17.3 million already raised or pledged, MAPS still needs $8.7 million to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy legally available to millions of people suffering with PTSD.
MAPS was an early supporter of cryptocurrency donations, first accepting Bitcoin donations in December 2013. Currently, MAPS is able to accept donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
The steep growth in the cryptocurrency market has created a promising new source of support for non-profit psychedelic research, having grown almost 50,000% since 2013 to over $500 billion in December 2017, a larger market capitalization than Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon.
Cryptocurrencies use encryption and digital technologies called blockchains to create an anonymous, distributed, peer-to-peer monetary system that is resistant to censorship and fraud, limiting the need for third parties and associated fees.
In August, the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, acknowledging that it “may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies” and agreeing to expedite its development and review. If the trials show positive results, FDA approval for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD is expected by 2021.
Founded in 1986, MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Since its founding, MAPS has raised over $45.5 million for psychedelic therapy and medical marijuana research and education. For more information, visit maps.org.
MAPS-sponsored clinical trials are conducted by the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of MAPS formed in 2015 for the special purpose of balancing social benefits with income from legal sales of MDMA, other psychedelics, and marijuana. For more information, visit mapsbcorp.com.