A ragtag effort to raise enough money to buy a rare copy of the US Constitution is coming to an official end after the group failed to win at a Sotheby’s auction last week.
In a Discord message to supporters, donors and contributors, core team member Graham Novak wrote that despite explorations of alternative uses of the nearly $48 million raised, it was “determined that building and maintaining an ongoing project is not something that we as a core team are able to support, given the technical and administrative requirements of doing it properly.” Potential paths forward were initially teased following the conclusion of the auction, with donors being given the option to request refunds for the funds they contributed minus transaction costs.
“The community has taken all actions that it was organized to accomplish: we raised capital, we bid at Sotheby’s, and upon losing, we made full refunds available to the community as promised. At this time we want to encourage anyone who has been waiting to claim their refund to do so. There is no time limit on claiming these refunds. The Discord will be left open for 14 days for discussion, and then will shift to read-only.”
“This project was a landmark event that showed the entire world that a group of internet friends can use the power of web3 to face a seemingly insurmountable goal and achieve incredible results on an impossible timeline,” he went on to write.
ConstitutionDAO’s efforts generated a raft of media attention with its swift-moving donor drive, ultimately leading to a chaotic conclusion when it was not immediately apparent who won the auction. A day later, the Wall Street Journal revealed the winner: Citadel founder and CEO Kenneth Griffin, who reportedly intends to loan the rare US Constitution copy to an art museum in Arkansas.
During the roughly week-long sprint, ConstitutionDAO was both criticized as a foolish effort and praised as an example of what decentralized communities can accomplish when motivated. In his closing message, Graham expressed hope that similar efforts would spring from the example set.
“It is our sincere hope that this project will spark many others that take inspiration from the enthusiasm and accomplishments of everyone involved to use the power of web3 to make a positive impact on the world,” he wrote. “We love you all, and are truly humbled to have been part of history together.”