Tech Tycoon Swaps Blood With His Son in Pursuit of Eternal Life

When rich techies want to look younger, it’s discussed through a lens of med-tech innovation. Not the same for women who go to equally bizarre lengths!

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Tech Tycoon Swaps Blood With His Son in Pursuit of Eternal Life
Photo:Bloomberg (Getty Images)

If given the opportunity, would you choose to live forever? The main caveat is that a large portion of your extended life would be spent in a windowless room in a medical spa about 20 miles outside of Fort Worth, Texas, getting your son’s blood pumped into your veins. If that’s a non-issue, then I’d like to introduce you to Bryan Johnson.

Johnson is a new age-y venture capitalist and founder of the company Braintree. Legally he is 45. Biologically he is also 45. But he is spending $2 million a year to swap blood plasma with his 17-year-old son (and also with his 70-year-old dad!) so that he can pump the brakes on and maybe even reverse his car back along the highway of life—Rascal Flatts be damned!

He sort of looks like if one of the older Weasley brothers got into modern dance and became a Miu Miu model: a man in top physical condition with a penchant for posting Instagram photos of his muscled, dewy skin suit while slyly smiling. Along with the tri-generational plasma exchange, a phrase that will haunt me in my sleep, Johnson follows a strict sleep, diet, and exercise regimen and is documenting and collecting data on his anti-aging pursuit through his company Project Blueprint, in hopes it will help the larger anti-aging medical research community. Johnson also refers to his son as his “blood boy,” in case anyone wanted a fun character detail for their body horror film script.

“To me, it’s gross, evidence-free and relatively dangerous,” biochemist Charles Brenner told Bloomberg about Johnson’s plasma-swapping hobby.

I completely understand the fascination with Johnson’s vampiric bio-medical undertaking. It’s fucking weird! But there’s also…nothing new about it. Tech dudes have long been obsessed with either escaping death or prolonging life—think Peter Thiel’s plan to be cryogenically frozen or Jeff Bezos’ investment in Altos Labs, a company researching how to reverse aging in cells.

What does feel noteworthy is that when men with a bajillion dollars and some computer skills want to look and feel younger, it’s discussed through a lens of medical tech innovation, and as part of a grander conversation about immortality and life and death. When women do the same thing—through cosmetic surgery and maintenance—it’s often written off as frivolous vanity.

Even the media coverage of Johnson’s pursuit is telling: More serious and business-minded publications like Bloomberg and Fortune are on the story. These outlets did not, however, write about the business being Kim Kardashian’s infamous vampire facial—a very similar procedure in which your own plasma is injected into your face to rejuvenate your skin.

Every other one of Johnson’s Instagram posts is riddled with a lengthy caption filled with confusing statistics about his liver performance or glucose levels—all things I presume you can track with Project Blueprint. It’s incredibly similar to Kardashian partnering with Bodyspec last summer and sharing her body fat percentage and bone density. But her broadcasting her bio-info didn’t get picked up in tech trade pubs.

I’m not saying Johnson’s search for the fountain of youth isn’t being discussed with a lot of skepticism—it totally is. I’m also not suggesting we aggrandize Kim Kardashian’s bone density report; I don’t think anyone wants or needs that. But it’s certainly conspicuous whose pursuit of youth is read as vain and whose is framed as a push forward for mankind.

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