A group of crypto investors is trying to buy an original copy of the U.S. Constitution
Cryptocurrency investors are pooling millions of dollars worth of digital tokens in an effort to buy a rare first printing of the U.S. Constitution.
The group, calling itself ConstitutionDAO, says it has raised more than $23 million, or about 5,599 Ether, as of Wednesday afternoon, surpassing the $20 million goal it originally set for itself. (Ether, a digital currency produced by the Ethereum network, is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization after bitcoin.)
Sotheby's, which is auctioning the document on Thursday, has valued it between $15 million and $20 million, though it could go for more. The artifact is one of 13 copies of the founding document that survived from a series of about 500 printed for Constitutional Convention delegates to consider in Philadelphia in 1787, according to the auction house.
The crypto investors say they want to put the document, the last privately owned copy, on public display and are seeking a partner who can do so.
"The eventual home must have the expertise to properly house, store, and maintain the artifact," the group writes on its website. "Additionally, the community has expressed strong preferences for institutions that are free to the public and willing to cover the costs associated with housing the document."
The group is organized as a "decentralized autonomous organization," a self-governance structure pioneered by crypto users to pursue a project and allow participants to vote on major decisions. "It's fitting that we use this technology to honor and protect the greatest historical tool for human governance: the U.S. Constitution," the group writes.
The founding core of the collective comprises a number of tech entrepreneurs, including the chief technology officer of a crypto-based publishing platform; the founder of a cabin community for online creators outside Austin; and a partner at a crypto-focused venture capital fund.
In social media posts, several core contributors noted growing support for the project, including a Tweet by singer Grimes.
The group notes that if the bid is successful, donors won't own a fractional share of the document. Rather, they will receive a "governance token" that will give them the ability to advise on where and how the document is displayed.
A Sotheby's spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment by publication.