Autophagy, literally self-eating, is the latest dietary trend in the crypto community. More commonly known as fasting, the idea is to abstain from ingesting food for a set amount of time, ranging anywhere from 24 hours to an entire month or beyond. In doing so, proponents hope to improve their bodily health and mental acuity.
With nine hours left to my own exercise in self-starvation, I feel neither healthy nor sharp. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m hallucinating. I’m imagining the taste of last night’s dinner. Fatty salmon. The salt on my tongue. A bed made of arugula. Alas, just cotton sheets and pillow to chew on. My only consolation? I’m not alone.
I’m skipping meals alongside the Bitcoin Fasting Group, a Telegram channel for crypto-minded people to discuss nutrition, organize fasts and encourage one another through their hunger. Using the predictable pattern of the bitcoin blockchain, which hashes a new set of transactions every 10 minutes, the group schedules 36- to 72-hour communal fasts once in a 2,000-block cycle, or about every two weeks if using a calendar.
I joined the channel in the middle of January after seeing a tweet promoting a fast. Beginning at block-height 614,000, a bunch of us (it’s impossible to say how many of the 242 members voluntarily participated) planned to forgo breakfast, lunch and dinner for the sport of it. The fast would start in the middle of the week, and I wanted to test the claims it would improve my productivity.