Using blockchain (and camping) to foster meaningful human contact

Mettā Creative offers college students an alternative to binge culture. The company's three-day Beauty in the Backyard event takes place this weekend.

At its core, Mettā Creative is a company that celebrates the most basic human need — personal interaction. 

“We’re all connected virtually, but we’re disconnected personally,” said Davis Pfund, who cofounded Mettā Creative with Dylan Nunn. “We’ve lost the Third Place in modern society, people are staying inside more and we’re not connecting as much on a face-to-face level.”

On Oct. 12–14 at the 200-acre Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, Md., the startup will hold Beauty in the Backyard, its first three-day event. Influenced by festival culture, it will feature lots of live music, interactive art, yoga, camping, workshops, team games and conversation-starting activities.

Tickets for Beauty in the Backyard start at $49 for a one-day ticket, or $96 for a three-day pass, including camping. Group passes and cabin rentals are also available.


What sounds at first like an event planning startup is actually quite a bit more, with a mission to protect the environment while fostering friendships in a way that puts the focus on people and creativity.

“It all started two years ago at University of Delaware when we looked around us, and there’s a culture of ‘binge’: binge drinking, binge studying — it was just very unhealthy and we just didn’t like going to the typical popular parties,” said Pfund. “So we started our own parties with purpose. We donated money to different environmental nonprofits that are doing good work. We bring people together over a common mission and a common cause, with collaborative arts, murals, dancing and music, but without the pressure to black out. It’s not a focused-on-intoxication event, it’s focused on creativity and balance and sustainability and just pure fun. One hundred percent of people enjoy fun.”

The Mettā Creative pitch at Summer Founders Demo Day at UD. (Photo by Holly Quinn)

The Mettā Creative pitch at Summer Founders Demo Day at UD. (Photo by Holly Quinn)

It may sound anti-tech, but, while they certainly encourage putting away your devices for a few hours (or days), Mettā Creative embraces tech in its own unexpected ways. Like using blockchain technology to create its very own intracommunal “gift currency.”


“At this point they’re little pieces of paper with airdrops on them which, is basically Bitcoin and Ethereum private keys that will have anywhere from $5 to $100 worth of Bitcoin or Ethereum,” said Pfund.

The currency, called Mettā Tokens, will be hidden as part of a scavenger hunt and will be awarded to participants in workshops and other activities. The tokens can then be used to purchase food at the events (beverages are BYO), tickets for future events or to gift to a friend. “It’s a gifting economy, basically. So, we’re gifting it to somebody for picking up trash, or for bringing a friend, or listening to the seminar, and they can gift it to other people as well,” said Pfund. “We have a team of devs that is really doing some amazing work.”

Mettā Creative will be partnering with the network Students for Zero Waste for Beauty in the Backyard. While the focus for now is college students, the goal is to reach people across the board who are interested in the Mettā Creative lifestyle.

As a participant in the Horn Entrepreneurship accelerator Summer Founders this past summer, the startup is now taking it to the next level. “We’re focusing on Millennials right now because it’s the largest generation ever, and because it’s within out means — and it’s working,” Pfund said. “[College students] are the ones getting degrees, they’re gonna be politicians, lawyers. You know, the changemakers.”

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