More than $40 million worth of cryptocurrency has been raised via donations in efforts to purchase a rare 1787 copy of the U.S. Constitution, as the ConstitutionDAO (decentralized autonomous organization) plans to “put the constitution in the hands of the people.”
Sotheby’s Auction House had originally estimated that the coveted piece of history would sell for around $20 million at the auction set to be held today, November 18th. Uncertainty of ownership lingers, however, pending the bid is successful, as the crowdfunded efforts would technically have several hands on the artifact.
Thirteen known copies exist of the Constitution that have survived from an original run of 500, which were printed after the text was settled at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This copy, however, is one of two that are not being held in the collection of an institution, says Sotheby’s. The group intends to put the document on public display.
The DAO’s motive is to enable individuals to come together to make purchases and share in their ownership, having their transactions and operating rules recorded on the crypto blockchain, which is the same underlying technology on which cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum run.
The website of the ConstitutionDAO says that it is “pooling together money to win this auction.” Originally, the website told those wanting to contribute that they’d be buying “fractional ownership and governance. You will own a piece of the Constitution based on how much you contribute.” Since then, however, assumingly due to the massive amounts of contributions they’ve received, that has changed to inform those contributing that they would in fact not get a share in owning the Constitution. Instead, contributors will receive a “governance token, not fractionalized ownership.”