'Do You Believe In Second Chances?' Another DAO Is Raising Funds to Buy a Copy of the US Constitution

Inspired by ConstitutionDAO's attempt last year, the unaffiliated ConstitutionDAO2 received $34,000 in public contributions on its first day.

AccessTimeIconDec 7, 2022 at 8:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 7, 2022 at 8:49 p.m. UTC
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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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One month after Sotheby’s announced it would be auctioning off another original copy of the U.S. Constitution, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called UnumDAO, also known as “ConstitutionDAO2,” is trying to buy it.

The group’s name is an homage to ConstitutionDAO, a grassroots collective of crypto enthusiasts that managed to raise $47 million in one week to bid on a copy of the Constitution auctioned at Sotheby’s in November 2021.

The new DAO is not affiliated with the old group, which said in a Nov. 17 tweet it would not be attempting another crowdfunding campaign this time around.

In a Twitter message, ConstitutionDAO told CoinDesk that it was excited to see the work that its successor was putting in to finishing the project it had started.

ConstitutionDAO2 is a coalition of 16 separate organizations, including Juicebox, Nucleo, Aztec Network and MoonDAO. It also includes PeopleDAO, which governs the treasury of PEOPLE tokens originally created by ConstitutionDAO, now run by separate individuals.

ConstitutionDAO2’s mission is to “start a collection of civic artifacts that are totally run by the people,” according to a tweet. It has so far raised 27.8 ETH (around $34,000) as of Wednesday in public contributions from 120 wallets, though a representative said the amount raised privately is much greater. The new auction will be held live at Sotheby’s auction house in New York on Dec. 13.

The new DAO will use non-fungible tokens (NFT) to manage the artifact’s governance if it does end up winning the auction. Contributors can choose from four different NFT tiers: 0.1 ETH (around $122) for “Citizen,” 1 ETH (around $1,220) for “Representative,” 10 ETH (around $12,220) for “Senator” and 100 ETH (around $122,000) for “Executive.” The document itself would be legally owned by a nonprofit organization called UnumDAO.

New DAO, new strategy

ConstitutionDAO2 is taking additional measures to right the wrongs of its predecessor's attempt, such as allowing for donations to be made privately to mask the running total for its bid. Last time around, billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin was able to outbid ConstitutionDAO at the last moment, in part by knowing the exact amount the DAO had raised prior to the auction.

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(Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“For one whole year, the communities inspired by ConstitutionDAO have been building, developing privacy tech and experimenting with DAOs,” the group wrote on Twitter, appealing to its community for donations. “Do you believe in second chances?”

When asked if the DAO is worried Griffin could again swoop in with a winning bid at the last second, member Alex Turley told CoinDesk he wasn’t worried because “Griffin already has a copy.”

In the 24 hours since ConstitutionDAO2 announced its crowdfunding efforts, the price of PEOPLE, the original token of ConstitutionDAO, has fallen about 7%.

ConstitutionDAO2 is facing an uphill battle to raise the funds during an extended crypto winter compared to November 2021, when the crypto market was still in a bull run.

Among the DAOs taking part in ConstitutionDAO2 is also EmpireDAO, a crypto co-working space in downtown Manhattan, New York City. Mike Fraietta, EmpireDAO’s founder, says he wants to display the copy of the Constitution in his office if the group’s bid attempt is successful, saying the physical space could be “the Louvre to ConstitutionDAO2’s 'Mona Lisa'.”

According to the group’s website, If the DAO loses the bid, investors in the project’s NFTs will be able to refund their purchases or keep them as collectibles. Last time around, ConstitutionDAO’s PEOPLE token rose in value after its DAO lost the auction, peaking at 16 U.S. cents in the days following.

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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.


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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.