This is the story of a “financial flash mob” that is trying to raise $20 million to buy a rare copy of the United States’ Constitution.
A big group of crypto maximalists are coming together to obtain the genuine U.S. Constitution, which may sound like the logline for a yet-to-be-made National Treasure 3, but is really real.
This Group has a Better Chance of Success than the Villains in Nicolas Cage’s Prior Films. That’s the Idea, at Least.
Sotheby’s is selling “an incredibly rare and extraordinarily historic” first edition of the U.S. Constitution at auction on Thursday, November 18. The founders initially printed 500 copies to submit to the Continental Congress, but now only thirteen copies exist (including the one in the National Archives museum in Washington, DC).
Since the last winner, New York real estate mogul S. Howard Goldman, passed away in 1997, this has not been on the market for 30 years. It’s estimated to sell for $15–$20 million at auction, yet it might bring about the same amount in Ethereum.
Right after Sotheby’s publicised the upcoming auction, a group calling themselves ConstitutionDAO emerged with the intention of pooling their resources in order to purchase the crown jewel. (Perhaps they got tired of pondering which dog-related cryptocurrency would be the wrong tree to go barking up.) Quickly, Fintech Twitter became populated with scroll emoji-filled screeds that called attention to the ongoing blunder. As of this writing, Elon Musk has not tweeted about it.
The participants here have loftier goals than simply using an Ethereum smart contract to buy, say, Martin Shkreli’s stolen Wu-Tang CD. The website material for ConstitutionDAO boasts, “We seek to place The Constitution in the hands of The People,” which is an impressively high way to characterise a group of crypto nerds making fun of America.
In theory, the U.S. Constitution would be in the hands of “the people” if a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) won the bid. In any case, “some people” might think that. However, the DAO’s grand objective for the document is to “find a safe home for it, such as the Smithsonian,” so it appears like the crypto team and whoever wins the auction won’t be so different in practise. Taking into account the adage that “the medium is the message,” a win here would only result in a flood of publicity for the crypto industry.
However, Many have Already Given in to the Enticing pull of Crypto Publicity and a Vague Victory for Libertarians.
Tech analyst Packy McCormack stated in a newsletter titled “Let’s buy the U.S. Constitution” that he felt “a sense of non-partisan American patriotism I haven’t felt in a long time,” and “a feeling of satisfaction that web3 is making this possible.”
Whether his passion stems from genuine patriotism or the hyper-digital rush of accomplishing something monumental for the lulz, it is clear that he is enjoying himself. The ConstitutionDAO website boasts that they have collected almost $3 million in Ethereum from backers.
If they can raise seven times that amount in the next three days, they’ll have a real shot at doing what Nicolas Cage accomplished in National Treasure, albeit legally and with a lot more hassle.