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ConstitutionDAO was a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) formed in November 2021 to purchase an original copy of the United States Constitution.[1] The group raised $47 million in Ether cryptocurrency, but lost to a bid of $43.2 million in the Sotheby's auction. The organization was disbanded later that month.[2][3]

Auction and refunds[edit]

ConstitutionDAO raised $47 million in Ether cryptocurrency, but lost to a bid of $43.2 million in the Sotheby's auction. The organizers of ConstitutionDAO believed that they would have had insufficient funding to "insure, store, and transport the document" if they had made a higher bid.[4]

The organizers said they would refund contributions, minus Ethereum fees.[4] Weeks after the event, around $23 million had yet to be refunded, partly due to these fees, with one contributor reported as having to pay $70 in fees to donate $200, and another $70 to get it refunded. The median contributor had donated $217 to the project,[5] and some fees were more than the value of the donation.[6]

The Verge put the group's effort in the lineage of Internet movements like the GameStop short squeeze earlier that year.[4] Bloomberg News wrote that the effort "showed the power of the DAO ... has the potential to change the way people buy things, build companies, share resources and run nonprofits."[7]


Another group of crowdfunders named ConstitutionDAO2 formed in 2022 to purchase a different copy of the original constitution, which was to be auctioned by Sotheby's. The group had only publicly raised $313,000 by the time Sotheby's postponed its December 2022 auction,[8] though the organization had also raised private funds. The group considered an offer to buy another edition of the constitution from the same printing press.[9]


  1. ^ Matthews, Karen (November 19, 2021). "Rare first printing of US Constitution sells for record $43M". AP News. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  2. ^ Lee, Isabelle (November 21, 2021). "ConstitutionDAO disbands after losing its bid to buy a copy of the Constitution". Markets Insider. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  3. ^ Fox, Matthew (January 19, 2022). "Tokens of the defunct DAO that failed to buy a copy of the constitution are worth $300 million even after disbanding". Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Kastrenakes, Jacob (November 18, 2021). "ConstitutionDAO loses $43 million auction of rare US Constitution copy". The Verge. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  5. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (November 24, 2021). "Almost buying a copy of the Constitution is easy, but giving the money back is hard". The Verge.
  6. ^ "ConstitutionDAO Is Shutting Down After Unrelenting Chaos". Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  7. ^ Kharif, Olga (November 20, 2021). "Crypto Crowdfunding Goes Mainstream with ConstitutionDAO Bid".
  8. ^ "Citing 'Strong Institutional Interest,' Sotheby's Halted Its Sale of a Rare Copy of the U.S. Constitution Just Hours Before the Auction". Artnet News. December 15, 2022. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  9. ^ Mattei, Shanti Escalante-De (December 14, 2022). "Sotheby's Sale of U.S. Constitution Is Suddenly Postponed, Causing Uncertainty for Crypto Enthusiasts". Retrieved December 21, 2022.

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