Group of strangers united by cryptocurrency could buy US Constitution
Sotheby's is auctioning off the only known copy of the US Constitution owned by an individual. If that isn't a rare event itself, a group of cryptocurrency investors formed six days ago is rallying support to acquire it. With the Constitution going under the hammer on November 18, the group—called ConstitutionDAO (DAO: decentralized autonomous organization)—has raised over $5 million in Ethereum to bid.
Why does it matter?
- Of the 500 copies created, only 11 first-edition reprints of the US Constitution are known to exist today. The famous document was signed by 39 delegates in Philadelphia in September 1787. Only one of these 11 is reportedly in private hands.
- The owner, late Howard Goldman, purchased the document in 1988 for $165,000. His wife Dorothy Goldman has decided to auction the document.
ConstitutionDAO is a testament to organizational power of cryptocurrency
Around six days ago, Austin Cain and Graham Novak teamed up with 10 friends on the internet to form a DAO to bid on the Constitution copy at auction. In less than a week, ConstitutionDAO has an 8,000+ member Discord channel and over 11,000 social media followers. It also attracted donations from over 2,000 Ethereum addresses.
Leaderless DAO is constructing legal infrastructure to obtain the document
The group is constructing a legal entity capable of placing a bid and preparing to purchase insurance for the document in case they place the winning bid. The group, now viral on Twitter, is also identifying potential partner museums with the requisite facilities to temporarily, yet safely, hold the document if the group acquires it.
Exercise shows how crypto strangers can together buy real-world entities
The Constitution is estimated to fetch $15mn to $20mn. This exercise offers insight into how a DAO can use cryptocurrency infrastructure to facilitate partial ownership of physical artifacts. QuikNode co-founder Auston Bunsen rightly compared it to random strangers trying to collectively buy a basketball team.
Despite time crunch, group has rallied significant community support
The group comprises people from all walks of cryptocurrency life, including day jobs with cryptocurrency social network Showtime, Andreessen Horowitz, 1confirmation, and Cyphr. Coindesk reported that the momentum and time crunch for the bid has "paradoxically increased" ConstitutionDAO's odds of success. We won't be surprised if the Constitution becomes a saleable NFT sometime soon!