Crypto-Crowdsourced Funding for Sotheby’s Auction Could Further Legitimize Digital Currency

Curitiba, PR, Brazil - June 16, 2021: Ethereum coin on a circuit board setup with LEDs representing the high technology involved in the cryptocurrency network.
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A group of crypto investors is crowdsourcing financing to acquire a copy of the Constitution being auctioned off by Sotheby’s.

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The copy is one of just 13 Official Editions of the U.S. Constitution surviving from a printing of 500 issued for submission to the Continental Congress and for the use of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, according to Sotheby’s. The auction house estimates its price to be between $15 and $20 million and the proceeds from the auction will be given to a charity that has been established by the current owner.

ConstitutionDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), is collecting money to win this auction. A DAO is a community-led entity with no central authority, explains ConsenSys. It is fully autonomous and transparent: smart contracts lay the foundational rules, execute the agreed-upon decisions, and at any point, proposals, voting, and even the very code itself can be publicly audited.

Ultimately, a DAO is governed entirely by its individual members who collectively make critical decisions about the future of the project, such as technical upgrades and treasury allocations, according to ConsenSys.

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“We intend to put The Constitution in the hands of The People,” according to ConstitutionDAO’s website.

The group explains that decentralization and cryptocurrency (web3) “have created structures that allow people to self-govern with unparalleled levels of autonomy and freedom. It’s fitting that we use this technology to honor and protect the greatest historical tool for human governance: the U.S. Constitution.”

So far, the group has raised 1,254 ETH or $5.4 million as of today’s price through a Gnosis Safe wallet on Juicebox. If the DAO doesn’t win the auction, funds will be returned to donors.

Mark Elenowitz, president of global exchange and trading app for crowdfunded securities Horizon Fintex/Upstream, told GOBankingRates that purchasing a copy of the U.S. Constitution would be a huge symbolic step in the battle for the legitimization of crypto.

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“It would bring a lot of attention to the crypto world, and introduce a lot of new people to the concept of a DAO, allowing the democratization of blockchain to the masses. This is the sort of move that can get a lot of people excited about the possibilities that crypto unlocks,” Elenowitz said.

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It would also represent how crypto is overtaking traditional finance. The crypto movement could reshape our financial system as drastically as the birth of the American Democracy reshaped our political system, so there is a powerful symbolism in owning a document that changed the world. In 200 years, an NFT of Satoshi’s original whitepaper might be the equivalent of the Constitution,” he added.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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