RACHEL COOK - FOUNDER, SEEDS
Rachel Cook is the founder of Seeds, a social good cryptocurrency ecosystem working to bring abundance to all. Seeds has helped people in need from 29 countries and counting. Rachel is a former Wall Street stock trader and documentary filmmaker who got kicked out of clown school in France. She lives in Los Angeles with her rescue pup, Bowie.
With a strong social mission to transcend capitalism, a solid vision and a healthy dose of spirituality, I am naturally thrilled to introduce you to this wonderful conscious creator, over to you, Rachel.
SO, RACHEL, WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
This is so hard for me to write!
I do a lot of Vipassana and have looked at maybe 30 or so past lives. It seems like the theme for me in this life is about helping to bring a balance to yin and yang on Earth, the feminine and masculine energy present in humans of all genders. So that (of course) means that I first have had to work on bringing out a healthier balance of these in myself. I still have a long way to go - society has rewarded me for emphasising my masculine, as it does us all, and I feel like I have a TON of masculine energy operational most of the time. This seems requisite because of the legacy business and financial systems' design. Vipassana is hands down the best tool I've found to help heal this. They have free courses worldwide at dhamma.org (they cover your food and boarding too), and I've done 18 now and counting.
I grew up in a tiny town in Ohio in a neglectful/abusive home situation (my father had NPD, and I was the scapegoat within the family structure). I don't really have any happy memories from childhood. I was valedictorian of my high school class of 116 and attended Duke. If I had had solid guidance (and if I could've gotten in), I think I should have gone to the opposite of Duke, a school like Barnard probably. Duke was and is a damaging place for women, and it seems to have only gotten worse over time.
After college, I wanted to study improv and comedy writing at Second City in Chicago. So I moved there, took classes, and worked as a professional stock trader, mainly on the European shift, which meant that I was on the desk from midnight to around 9 am. I was career-profitable, and eventually, the misogyny drove me to quit. Over time, I began to understand that what I learned while working within the legacy financial system compelled me to want to create what I believe is a kinder, more sensible economic system in Seeds.
Seeds is like cryptocurrency mutual aid, except that, because givers receive SEEDS cryptocurrency in thanks - and, as of this writing, SEEDS have gone up in value 133x in about two years - through helping others, you build monetary abundance yourself as well.
The old system teaches us to compartmentalise, making money for ourselves and helping those in need. But that way of being is increasingly obsolete, and I believe we need new systems like Seeds that transcend the limitations of the old way.
IN YOUR TWENTIES, YOU WERE A HIGHLY EDUCATED, PROFESSIONAL STOCK TRADER AND ONE OF THE ONLY WOMEN ON THE TRADING FLOORS YOU WORKED ON; WHAT WAS THAT LIKE AS AN EXPERIENCE, AND HOW DID IT SHAPE THE TRAJECTORY OF YOUR LIFE AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE?
Recently I made up a word - misofem - because there wasn't one in the English language that I knew of to describe the denigration of feminine energy - nurturance, creativity, the strength of nature, intuition - in people of all genders, and therefore in the things humans make.
I had just turned 24 when I started my first stock trading job. I wasn't awake yet to how pervasive misofem and misogyny are - particularly in the legacy financial system. Once I lived wage discrimination, I started to get it. I was always the only woman at every stock trading firm I worked with or one of a tiny group of women.
At one such place, I started with a bunch of guys, per usual. I had a (much) better educational background than all of them, and at that point, I had already proven myself as a consistently profitable trader. Only one other person I started with had any trading experience at all, let alone a demonstrated record of making money, but the firm still paid me a 15% lower base salary than all those guys.
I negotiated the starting salary and was told they couldn't go any higher. It was only because I was friends with my colleagues that it was revealed that they were making significantly more than I was. When we received merit-based bonuses at the end of the year, mine was much higher than anyone else's because I had outperformed them.
When I was a trader, I realised that the markets had a structure based on a manufactured sense of the zero-sum. If I made $1, it meant that somebody else had to lose that $1.The system taught us that we had to fight others to get the money we needed for bare subsistence, that there were "winners" and "losers." Over the years, I began to realise how nonsensical manufactured zero-sum paradigms were. Some things in this world are scarce, but money isn't one of them. Money just moves in weird ways because of gatekeeping, and I sense that way of doing things is about to die. I believe Seeds can be a big part of getting us to the other side.Through helping others and rewarding giving, Seeds creates a bigger pie for all involved. It transcends the manufactured zero-sum.
Back in early 2020, when I was in danger of homelessness and redeemed a SEED to ask for help myself, my friend Cam gave $10 toward my need (funds were tight for him as well) and therefore received $10 in SEEDS in thanks at the market price at that time. A few months back, he was shocked to see that the $10 in SEEDS he got for his kindness was worth $2,600. I want the giving people to be the ones who get rich in crypto. They're already doing so much to help. If we get them more resourcing through a tool like Seeds, imagine what else they'll be able to do to improve this world.
THE WORK YOU ARE DOING WITH SEEDS IS SHIFTING ATTITUDES AND UNDERSTANDING OF HOW WE ARE TAUGHT TO IDENTIFY WITH MONEY AND FINANCE. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU CONSIDER IT TO BE THAT WE TEACH OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS NEW WAYS OF THINKING AND BRING AWARENESS TO ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS?
I want all people of every generation to recognise that money is a social construct. Money isn't real. It's something that men in Mesopotamia are credited with inventing around 5000 years ago.
Adam Smith, the father of "modern economics," published The Wealth of Nations in March of 1776. So our idea of "modern economics" is nearly 250 years old. For my astrologyheads, keeping an eye on the Pluto Return of the United States, this means that capitalism as we know it is going through a Pluto Return as well. And according to that belief system, this will impel what's not working to collapse. Adam Smith's organising principle for "modern economics" was the idea of self-interest. He famously wrote, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." But for most of his adult life, Adam Smith lived with his mother, and she was the one cooking his dinner, and presumably not out of a sense of her own self-interest. She probably cared for her child because she loved him. Yet Smith's professed worldview shuns the fact that women give in this way all the time.
Smith couldn't conceive an economic structure that incorporated feminine energy as his mother showed. The energy of nurturance, service, and community orientation that can be and is demonstrated by people of all genders - let alone an economic ecosystem that allows people to build abundance themselves while helping others simultaneously. But that's what Seeds does. It marries giving and building abundance yourself to create a bigger pie for all of us.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM?
Vipassana has helped me look at most things - compliments, insults - with a lot more objectivity than I was able to in the past. When either positive or negative feedback comes my way, if I have a strong reaction to it, I know it points to something unhealed within me. So I try to look at the core truth in whatever was said.
Sometimes compliments aren't grounded in reality; they are more about the person saying them. Same with criticism. When I can feel in my gut that something seems to have truth in it, it's something to reflect on, learn from, and to use to make adjustments as required.
It's a gift, really, when someone cares enough to bother to voice an opinion, even when it's hard to hear. I believe we're all on Earth to be mirrors to one another, to help each other grow.
IT TOOK YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE OF FACING EVICTION BEFORE HAVING THE IDEA TO REDEEM A SEED YOURSELF AND ASKING YOUR COMMUNITY FOR HELP. DO YOU THINK THIS IS A COMMON ISSUE AMONG WOMEN, BOTH ASKING FOR HELP AND SHOWING VULNERABILITY? HOW DO WE BEGIN TO OVERCOME THAT HURDLE, IN YOUR OPINION AND AS A GLOBAL SOCIETY?
In early 2020, I was in danger of homelessness. I'd gotten an eviction notice and couldn't pay the rent on my studio apartment. Seeds had helped people in need in 14 countries by that point, but it literally did not even occur to me to use the ecosystem I had built to help people in need when I needed help myself until I was so backed against the wall that there were no other apparent options.
I attribute this to the giving nature I had had since childhood and the socialisation I received as a woman. Society tells women that we're supposed to sacrifice ourselves for others continually, and it often punishes us when we set healthy boundaries to ensure good, proper care for ourselves. I think this is of the same zero-sum energy that the old monetary system is built on, and I attribute that to an over-emphasis on the yang.
So I always want to tell women - please use Seeds to ask for help! It's built for you. Use it to fund your business needs. Use it for any need.
I recently made a TikTok urging women to ask for help through Seeds because we realised that 80% of those making Requests for Help said they were male. I desperately want that to change. Your needs are valid, and you deserve the support you seek. If you'd like to make a Request for Help through Seeds, you're welcome to do so at www.seedsgives.com/ask-for-help.
YOU CREDIT VIPASSANA MEDITATION WITH BRINGING CLARITY TO YOUR VISION FOR SEEDS AND AS A BUSINESS MODEL. HOW CRUCIAL HAS THIS MEDIUM BEEN FOR YOU AS A PERSON THROUGH THE BUILDING OF YOUR BUSINESS?
I'm absolutely certain that Vipassana is the path to genuine, unfettered happiness, and it's the most wonderful thing I've ever found. It's informed the design of Seeds. Vipassana courses use a giving-first model, and Seeds does too. You can sit a Vipassana course for free at 200+ centres worldwide when you sign up via dhamma.org, and they cover room, board, and food.
After you've sat a couple of courses, they ask that you volunteer if you'd like to continue sitting. In the same vein, once you've received two gifts through Seeds, we ask that you give forward 1/3 of what you've received to others who are in need before receiving a 3rd gift. If you can't afford that, you're welcome to sit a free Vipassana course instead.
YOU GIVE SEEDS OF AN EQUAL OR GREATER VALUE IN THANKS TO THOSE WHO DONATE TO OTHERS WHICH COMPLETES THE CIRCLE OF GIVING; THERE'S SOMETHING POIGNANT ABOUT THE FEMININE ENERGY ATTACHED TO THAT CONCEPT. WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT TO HUMANITY TODAY?
A couple of years back, I hadn't yet figured out a key component of the design of the Seeds ecosystem: that SEEDS should be sent to givers in thanks. Then I realised that the people buying SEEDS cryptocurrency on the market were primarily men, and those helping others through Seeds were predominantly women. I didn't want Seeds to become the zillionth example of men getting rich on women's backs.
Women hold up half the sky. The idea of rewarding givers with SEEDS came through this. I wanted those incredible women who believed in Seeds when few else did, who were so selfless in helping others through our platform, to benefit as the SEEDS value went up.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT ON YOUR JOURNEY, AND WHAT WOULD YOU AVOID IF YOU COULD DO IT ALL AGAIN?
Misofem and misogyny. If I were a man, they would call me a genius, and there would be widespread praise. Because of misofem and misogyny, it's been a much more challenging, more prolonged struggle. Many times along the way, the only support I had was my belief in myself. But I really wouldn't change a thing. I truly feel that the design of my life was set up brilliantly to facilitate certain lessons I needed to learn.Being born to neglectful parents has required decades of healing, but it taught me to care for myself deeply. It helped me learn to establish boundaries and become a true individual.
Female tech founders receive 2% of venture funding.
Being mistreated by misogynistic venture capitalists when raising funding for Seeds - and being broke for years and years, mainly as a result of this - helped me learn that that system needs to die. It led me to see how to create a better method through Seeds. All of those trials have served me, helping me learn and grow!
WHAT’S YOUR TOP TIP FOR ENTREPRENEURS READING THIS ARTICLE?
Look inside. Hone in on your intuition first, and follow that and that only. And not to sound like a broken record, but the best way I've found to do that is Vipassana.
WHICH MOTIVATIONAL SONG WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO ADD TO THE FEMALE CEO'S #GIRLBOSS PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY FOR YOU?
I don't mean this unkindly, but I find the term "girlboss" disturbing and problematic. We're women. We deserve to be proud of that. 💗
I have a weird relationship with music? I've gone through periods where I felt I couldn't live without it, but as I've gotten more into Vipassana and whatever, it's like my interests in culture started to subside? It reminds me of something I heard Bo Burnham say that he learned at this great private high school that Zen only came to Japan after the culture had peaked. So I guess I kind of feel like my interest in culture has peaked? And that includes music? I also feel like an over-emphasis on motivation is symptomatic of the masc energy imbalance in business. It's just as important to sit in our feminine, "being" energy to receive, heal and release.
All that said, my dad died of COVID on October 27th. I hadn't been in contact with him for years, and it was interesting to see the vestiges of his narcissistic abuse illuminated through his passing. Damian John Huntley is a talented artist and musician, and I found his instrumental piano pieces to be a comfort as I was processing my father's death.
YOU TEACH OTHERS HOW TO TRADE CRYPTOCURRENCY BASED UPON YOUR OWN TRADING EXPERIENCE VIA YOUR ONLINE COURSE. YOU ALSO GIVE BACK THE SAME VALUE IN SEEDS, ONCE AGAIN COMPLETING THE CIRCLE OF GIVING. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TEACH, AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?
I teach an online course called 'Cryptocurrency & How to Trade It,' which leverages my experience as a career-profitable stock trader who then made exponentially more when I started buying cryptocurrency in 2013. I especially want giving, generous women to have this knowledge so that they can benefit from crypto tools while it's still early days (and it still is!). The course sustains Seeds so that 100% of the value of the gifts go to those in need. It's $1999, and students receive $1999 worth of SEEDS when they pay in full, making it effectively free.
Though past performance doesn't guarantee future results, if you had taken the course in early 2020, that $2K in SEEDS would be worth about $300,000 right now. If you'd like to be notified when doors for the next session open, you're welcome to sign up at https://www.seedsgives.com/waitlist.
DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OR FAVOURITE PODCAST RECOMMENDATION FOR OUR FEMALE CEO MEMBERS?
If you've ever read The Golden Notebook, I feel like Doris Lessing was so smart that she figured out the intellectual component of Vipassana with her brilliant brain but didn't make it so far as to extend that the experiential understanding that comes with the practice, so she was still deeply unhappy.
I don't listen to podcasts, but I do have a low fi podcast myself. It's called Spiritual Crypto, where I talk about (you guessed it!) spirituality, feminine energy, astrology, meditation, cryptocurrency, and whatever else feels creatively compelling: https://spiritualcrypto.buzzsprout.com/
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
How much I've been able to heal, and my complete belief that I can figure anything out when I try. I'm already starting to self-censor what I'm about to say, which shows the vestiges of the neglect. My childhood felt bleak, and I abused alcohol for a solid 13 or 14 years as an adult.
I'm proud that I made it out okay, that I'm getting healthier and happier all the time. I've been sober for over three and a half years now, which I can entirely credit to Vipassana.
I'm proud that I came up with the idea behind Seeds and that I've been able to keep it going for nine years now despite sometimes being so broke that I didn't have a place to live and was stealing from grocery stores because I couldn't afford food.
I'm proud that I've always been able to find a way. When I was broke and misogynistic investors were ignoring me back in 2012, I realised that I could Airbnb my bedroom and sleep on my couch to bootstrap Seeds, so I did that.
In 2017 tech platforms were unthinkingly blanket-banning all crypto things, hobbling my ability to share about Seeds, and I'm proud that I later figured out I could get around that censorship via TikTok.
I'm proud that the Seeds community has helped so many diverse needs, serving people from 29 countries to date, and we're only just getting started.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
That Oprah is a higher level being who came to help up through this period of Ascension, and she's done a really fucking good job.
IT'S WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH! IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN TO DINNER WITH ONE INCREDIBLE WOMAN, WHO WOULD IT BE, AND WHAT WOULD YOU TALK ABOUT?
I really, deeply love Gloria Steinem, like I just feel so grateful to her. Everything about her is a comfort to me, and I hope to meet her in person in this lifetime. I'd ask her all about the more feminine approaches for organising during the Women's Movement, innovations like consciousness-raising circles, and she and Flo speaking together at podiums were truly feminine, and they improved the world.
I often reflect on what more feminine ways of being look like in terms of social justice, because social justice movements to date have been driven mainly by masculine forces. And I love Oprah, and I hope to get to meet her as well.
WHAT MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY?
I don't think I've experienced true happiness yet, or that any of us do until we're liberated, Buddha-style. As I develop further in Vipassana, I find myself getting closer, and life keeps getting better and better.