Crypto collective loses bid for rare copy of US Constitution to hedge fund mogul

One group raised $ 40 million in crypto but couldn’t buy a copy of America’s founding document.

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A hastily formed group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts nearly bought a first edition of the U.S. Constitution, but failed to secure the document, which was purchased by a hedge fund CEO for $ 43.2 million.

The highlight of an auction, the latest Sotheby’s conducted Thursday night, started at $ 30 million and quickly took turns between the crypto group ConstitutionDAO and another bidder, who was later identified as hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. It was not immediately clear who won the auction, which was conducted over the phone, and the cryptocurrency group initially claimed victory in a Twitter Space audio chat.

This excitement wore off, however, when the group discovered that it had not prevailed because it did not have enough reserves to take care of the document on an ongoing basis.

“While not the outcome we hoped for, we still made history tonight with ConstitutionDAO,” the group said in a tweeted statement after the auction. “We are incredibly grateful to have done this with all of you and are still in shock that we made it this far.”

The next day, Sotheby’s confirmed that Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel, had won the auction. Griffin plans to loan the document to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Although he didn’t win, ConstitutionDAOThe effort has been a high-profile example of cryptocurrency crowdfunding. The group came together in less than a week, leaving unanswered questions such as where they would post the document or who it would belong to. Known as a decentralized autonomous organization, the DAO managed member contributions through automated code sets that run on a blockchain, a distributed record of transactions.

What initially seemed like the art of financial performance, with its own memes and insider hashtags, quickly turned into a serious bidding effort. As of Thursday morning, the group had raised more than $ 40 million, double the high range of $ 15 to $ 20 million at which Sotheby’s had. appreciated the document, one of 13 surviving copies of America’s Fundamentals.

Sotheby’s conducted the auction on behalf of Dorothy Tapper Goldman, widow of New York real estate developer S. Howard Goldman, who purchased the copy of the Constitution for $ 165,000 in 1988. Sale proceeds will go to the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which “is dedicated to increasing understanding of our democracy and how the actions of all citizens can make a difference.”

DAO’s offering is sure to familiarize many people with ether, which, along with bitcoin, is one of the two major cryptocurrencies in the world. ConstitutionDAO has raised funds for its offering in cryptocurrency, which runs on the ethereum blockchain. Two other lots at Sotheby’s auctions – Banksy’s Trolley Hunters and Love Is in the Air – were conducted in ether alongside conventional currency.

The rules governing a DAO are automated, a design intended to make them transparent and to build trust among a group of potentially outsiders. The rules allow everything from fundraising to decision making to be done by general consensus.

The purchase of ConstitutionDAO is not the first time that a cryptocurrency collective has expressed interest in purchasing an expensive artifact. In October, a group called PleasrDAO said they bought Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, an album in a single copy by hip-hop heavyweights the Wu-Tang Clan which once belonged to “Pharmaceutical brother” Martin Shkreli. Prior to that, PleasrDAO purchased an NFT created by Edward Snowden for $ 5.5 million.

Nearly 17,500 donors have contributed to ConstitutionDAO for a median contribution of $ 206.26. Participants can get their contributions reimbursed less network costs.

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