black screen with Constitution DAO title

Yeah, I chipped into a decentralized effort to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution

The fractional ownership that has been advanced by blockchain technology is an exciting future — even if its popularity borders on the inane. Comparisons to early commercial applications of the internet seem apt. It’s difficult to decipher what will last and what will fade.

I’ve wanted to take part in early examples of the technology that feel important to me. So I was excited to see several writers and organizers I follow online launch “ConstitutionDAO” (distributed autonomous organization), a fractional-ownership vehicle that attempted to raise the winning bid to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution that Sotheby’s was auctioning. (I’ve been following DAOs, and wrote a small item about them back in March.)

It was a jovial and serious effort at the same time. It also was expensive, given a common criticism of crypto transfers is the relatively fees (called “gas” in the lingo). For my exceedingly modest contribution, I paid $55 in ETH, plus at least that much in fees. This here is the purchase shown in the blockchain.

The effort remarkably raised $49m USD — enough to win the bid for the U.S. Constitution — but the group didn’t make the highest bid, as there wasn’t enough left over to pay for a transition of the document to be preserved. 

Now I could either request a refund, or keep my money with this DAO. Given that I put so little money in ($55 USD in ETH) and the transaction costs are so high, I’m likely going to stay with the DAO. Bizarrely even the price of the token I hold has surged up amid all the press attention. Call it a meme coin now. The reality is that I’m just paying for the ride. Here’s to more.