What is RAO?
Rao means medicine in Shipibo.
As anthropologist Jeremy Narby wrote in The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (1999):
Both indigenous and mestizo shamans consider people like the Shipibo-Conibo, the Tukano, the Kamsá, and the Huitoto as the equivalents to universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and the Sorbonne; they are the highest reference in matters of knowledge.
For example, noya rao is the Shipibo name for a tree with glowing leaf litter from a bioluminescent bacteria that lights up while it breaks them down.
Nihue rao is the Shipibo name for a leaf added to the ayahuasca brew and the name of a spiritual retreat center in Iquitos, a pirate city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, co-owned by the founder of the Church of the Eagle and the Condor.
The prophesy of the Eagle and the Condor is about our species’ saving grace: the sacramental medicine of the people of the Eagle, native North American tribes, and the people of the condor, native South American tribes, coming together to heal us. That sacramental medicine includes the cactus peyote, L. williamsi, endemic to the deserts of the Southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico; the vine and leaf of ayahuasca, B. caapi and P. Viridis plus similar species, endemic to the Upper Amazon; the mushroom teonanactl, P. cubensis and the like; and the cactus huachuma, T. peruvianus and its friends.
RAO is a community-owned social enterprise sustainably growing entheogenic plants for poverty alleviation in indigenous communities in the Upper Amazon.
RAO roots DAO
RAO takes a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and gives it roots.
RAO roots DAO in two ways:
- juridical roots, in that RAO holds shares of ground-level subsidiaries; and
- natural roots, in that those subsidiaries manage agricultural corporations sustainably cultivating the constituent plants of ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca is a brew made mainly of B. caapi and P. viridis, colloquially known as ayahuasca and chacruna, containing a pharmacologically interesting combination of tryptamines (DMT alkaloids) and beta carbolines (harmala alkaloids). RAO grows B. caapi vines on fast-growing guava trees with chacruna in their shade, giving the RAO brew a special flavor — guavahuasca terroir.
That key medical innovation ayahuasca presents, mixing trypamines and MAOis, shows great promise in the treatment of widespread mental health issues including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction — ailments exacerbated by COVID-19 to such a degree that Johns Hopkins, a medical research university with a center for consciousness and psychedelic research, called the mental health crisis a “shadow pandemic.”
Over the past two decades steadily increasing demand for ayahuasca has led to over-harvesting of its constituent plants, especially B. caapi vines.
The economics are simple: demand rising while supply falling means prices are increasing. The trend remains intact: the price per kilogram of B. caapi and P. viridis has more than tripled the past decade and a half and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.
The problem is that the indigenous peoples who cultivated and brewed ayahuasca before anyone else and still do are living in poverty. Few have cash savings, fewer have bank accounts, and even fewer hold equity of companies. RAO does something to solve that problem.
RAO believes equity can be a source of wealth for indigenous peoples just as it is for Jeff Bezos.
As the third wave of the psychedelic revolution grows companies cultivating artisanal ayahuasca in the Upper Amazon will have valuable equity.
Consultants, contractors, and employees of RAO get paid not only in cash but also in RAO DAO equity.
RAO uses DAO
RAO uses a DAO to enable:
- equity compensation (in addition to cash) for contractors and employees in the form of RAO DAO tokens;
- exit liquidity for RAO equity in cryptomarkets where indigenous workers can sell RAO into cash rapidly when they need it. This kind of exit is not impossible for shareholders of most private companies;
- bypassing the need bank accounts by exiting straight from crypto to cash at a cryptocurrency exchange point in Pucallpa, Peru;
- enabling decentralized governance and treasury management with indigenous stakeholder participation;
- worldwide stakeholder participation with a low barrier to entry; and
- future-proof perpetual existence and experiments in sustainable self-sovereign ecosystems inspired by terra0.
RAO uses a DAO for poverty alleviation — UN SDG #1.
What has RAO DAO done?
- Formed IP2 RAO S.A. (RAO’s first juridical root) a Peruvian corporation directed by Demer Gonzales Vasquez, a Shipibo-Conibo lawyer and director of IP² Foundation.
- Leased 1-hectare test site in Shipibo-Conibo community of Santa Clara, near Pucallpa, Peru
- Secured initial supply of B. caapi and P. viridis cuttings and consulted with Shipibo-Conibo experts on ayahuasca cultivation
What will RAO DAO done?
- Release RAO to core stakeholder group
- Acquire IP2 RAO S.A.
- Plant guava, B. caapi and P. viridis (RAO’s first natural roots) in the Santa Clara site
- Acquire and lease additional sites. 2 more hectares in Santa Clara are already on deck
What is RAO equity?
RAO tokens are the equity of RAO DAO. RAO token holders vote on:
- Management of RAO treasury funds;
- Project implementation;
- Engagement with indigenous consultants, contractors, and employees;
- Purchases and leases for land;
- Contracts for sale of harvests; and
- Distributions of revenues to RAO token holders.
RAO early adopters will obtain RAO by staking certain tokens. Later adopters will earn RAO working on RAO DAO projects.