If you’re not kicking yourself for dumping all of your Bitcoin just before the boom then you’re probably wondering: “What do you do when you have more money than you could ever possibly spend?” That’s the question one anonymous philanthropist asked before setting up the Pineapple Fund, a massive stash of Bitcoin which is set to fund good causes wherever they may be.
Last week, the cryptocurrency fund pledged to donate $86 million through Bitcoin (BTC) to charities. Among the first to receive a bitcoin donation is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which conducts research into the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs.
On December 14, the Fund sent 59.89 BTC to MAPS, which in the brave new world converts to $1,000,000 USD. The money will go toward the final round of trials necessary to get MDMA, often called “ecstasy,” on the market as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder as soon as 2021.
Last summer, the trials were granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA, a rare move used to recognize when a treatment that’s being researched shows significant improvement over treatments already available to patients. The designation will fast-track the treatment’s approval process. And last week, they got one step closer with the help of the Bitcoin boom.
“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,” MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin said in a statement thanking the Pineapple Fund for its generosity.
MAPS, the nonprofit that’s played a key role in the psychedelic renaissance, is currently working to collect enough money to continue their MDMA trials. They’ve set a fundraising goal of $26 million. The donation from The Pineapple Fund has put them at $18.3 million.
“It was a total surprise,” says MAPS’ Brad Burge. The team of researchers first heard of the Pineapple Fund’s donations through Reddit on Wednesday night (Dec 14) and applied without any expectations. “Thursday morning they posted our logo on Reddit and we checked our bitcoin wallet and there it was,” Burge said.
MAPS began accepting cryptocurrencies in 2013, but has never received a donation this large. Still, Bitcoin and other online currencies have made up over $120,800 worth of MAPS’ donations in the last four years.
Cryptocurrencies have grown almost 50,000 percent since MAPS first started collecting them. One Bitcoin is currently worth more than $18,000 USD.
“If we had chosen to hold on to all of the bitcoin we’ve gotten things would be a bit different now,” says Burge with a laugh. But the nonprofit is not up for gambling with research which has proven to help patients with treatment-resistant PTSD. “We don’t want to be in a position of losing a million dollars when the research is moving forward,” Burge said.
News of the million-dollar donation also seems to have inspired others to donate to MAPS. Over the weekend, they received another anonymous donation of 51.5 BTC and Burge is hopeful that the results of their trials will continue to inspire more support.
The Pineapple Fund still has $84 million left to give. They have donated to eight charities so far including The Water Project, which provides clean water to communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and the SENS Research Foundation, which studies treatments for age-related illnesses.