Last November, the sale of a copy of the United States Constitution turned heads when a group of crypto enthusiasts began ConstitutionDAO to crowdfund a bid for the rare document. Now, a new unaffiliated group under the moniker ConstitutionDAO2 is aiming to do the same for another copy when it comes up for sale at Sotheby’s next week.
One of just 13 known remaining copies from the first printing of the Constitution, the present edition last changed hands more than a century ago, when it was gifted to the rare book collector Adrian Van Sinderen. Its estimate of $20 million–$30 million is the highest ever for a historical document in a public sale. It will be offered at Sotheby’s New York headquarters on December 13.
Aiming to raise public and private funds to place the winning bid, ConstitutionDAO2 comprises 16 separate online organizations. It includes Juicebox, Nucleo, Aztec Network, and MoonDAO, alongside PeopleDAO, which oversees tokens originally produced by ConstitutionDAO. That group is now run by separate individuals, who remain anonymous.
The news comes a year after Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin outbid the first coalition of crypto investors, who had raised more than $40 million from over 17,000 contributors to buy the copy. Griffin paid a final price of $43.2 million for the lot, long held privately by New York philanthropist Dorothy Tapper Goldman. After being revealed as the buyer, the financier and Republican donor publicly raised doubts about the DAO group’s populist approach—questioning whether a “large decentralized group,” could properly preserve the rare document. He eventually loaned it to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, established by Walmart heiress Alice Walton.
The new group of crypto buyers appears to be pushing back on Griffin’s ideas of stewardship. “Exclusive institutions and collectors control some of the world’s most important civic artifacts,” the website’s mission statement reads. “We aim to bring these artifacts under a Web3 decentralized governance model.”
The group said the document’s purchase is meant to be the launching point for a “collection of civic artifacts that are totally run by the people.” It called last year’s auction that spurred other DAO groups to organize a “cultural moment.”
A website organized by the initiative has said that if ConstitutionDAO2 wins the auction, the document will be held under UnumDAO, a nonprofit organization in which donors to the public fundraising effort will have voting power to govern the artifact’s care and display. As of Wednesday, it has raised 27.8 ETH (around $34,000) in public contributions, though its mission statement says the group aims to shield the final amount it raises prior to the auction. “We will use a combination of public and private fundraising to hide our bidding ammo,” the website’s statement said.