Group of 'Internet Friends' Who Raised Millions Lose Bid on Early Copy of U.S. Constitution (UPDATE)

"ConstitutionDAO"—a decentralized organization consisting of crypto investors—failed in their bid to buy the document at a Sotheby's auction.

The First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution

Image via Getty/Alexi Rosenfeld

The First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution

UPDATE 11/18, 8:55 p.m. ET: ConstitutionDAO’s bid to purchasea first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution has failed.

According to Fortune, the collective put in a bid for $40 million but eventually lost out on the piece of history after an unidentified bidder put up $41 million. The money that was raised for the bid will now be refunded to investors.

The group released a statement following the Sotheby’s auction, writing, “While this wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, we still made history tonight with ConstitutionDAO​​​​​​​. This is the largest crowdfund for a physical object that we are aware of—crypto or fiat. We are so incredibly grateful to have done this together with you all and are still in shock that we even for this far.”

— ConstitutionDAO (📜, 📜) (@ConstitutionDAO) November 19, 2021

See original story below.

A group of so-called “internet friends” have pooled millions of dollars in cryptocurrency in an attempt to buy a rare piece of history.

According to CNBCConstitutionDAO (decentralized autonomous organization) have surpassed their original fundraising goal of $20 million to bid on a first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution. The document, which is said to be one of 13 surviving copies in the world, will go up for auction at Sotheby’s later this week. The auction house previously predicted the item would fetch anywhere between $15 million to $20 million.

“We intend to put The Constitution in the hands of The People,” the ConstitutionDAO website reads. 

Do we need to stop tweeting every million!?


The slider on our website represents the new stretch goal. This goal will keep raising to make sure that we can definitely win the auction.


— ConstitutionDAO (📜, 📜) (@ConstitutionDAO) November 17, 2021

ConstitutionDAO reportedly began with just 10 friends and quickly evolved into an 8,000-person Discord channel. The group, primarily made up of cryptocurrency investors, raised $26,897,214 in ether as of press time. One ether—worth about $4,600—purchases 1 million governance tokens, which effectively gives the donor a say in how the property is handled.

Per the group’s website:

ConstitutionDAO is seeking an esteemed partner to publicly display the Constitution. The eventual home must have the expertise to properly house, store, and maintain the artifact. 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.

If the group manages to buy the document, its members will then vote on where and how to display it. According to CNBC, the group will likely return the funds back to the donors if they fail to secure the winning bid.

“We have a long path ahead of us, but we’re feeling really optimistic,” said ConstitutionDAO member Adrienne Young. “If we lose the auction, our primary plan is to refund the contributions. We have some mechanisms in place for this — we’re receiving contributions through Juicebox right now, and they’re able to issue refunds should we lose. We’re also a DAO, so this will be put to a vote by the community, and it’s possible that another path will be chosen, such as bidding on another historical artifact or donating the money to a charity.”

The first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution will be auctioned off at 6:30 p.m. EST Thursday. You can learn more about the lot here.

Latest in Life