Buying the Constitution

November 18, 2021 • #

A group of crypto folks online are congregating with intent to bid on a first edition printing of the US Constitution in an auction.

From the FAQ:

We’re buying the US Constitution.

For the first time in thirty-three years, one of thirteen surviving copies of the Official Edition from the Constitutional Convention will be publicly auctioned by Sotheby’s. It is the only copy that is still owned by private collectors. The proceeds from the auction will be given to a charity that has been established by the current owner.

ConstitutionDAO is a DAO that is pooling together money to win this auction. We intend to put The Constitution in the hands of The People.

Packy McCormick wrote up a great piece on the DAO, as did Ben Thompson. It’s one of those cases where the weird web3, very-online community is breaking through to the mainstream. Packy was even on CNBC talking about it; imagine having only a few minutes to explain enough about crypto, blockchains, DAOs, and memes to understand the project.

I threw my hat into the ring to get my fractionalized slice of US founding history. As Thompson explained (and is mentioned in the FAQ), for somewhat complex reasons, you aren’t truly buying a fractionalized asset — that would make it a security, and therefore subject to additional regulatory scrutiny — rather you’re buying governance tokens for the DAO that afford voting rights on where the document should be displayed, and how the organization should be run.

As of writing this, the DAO has collected 11,460 ETH into its contract on Juicebox, market price in USD: $46.7m. They were originally thinking it’d go for between $15m-20m at auction. Amazing to see.