Crypto bidders miss out as U.S. constitution copy sells for $43 mln

According to auction house Sotheby’s, a crowd-funded offer by cryptocurrency aficionados to buy a rare copy of the United States constitution fell short on Thursday, after the document sold to another buyer for $43.2 million, a record price for a printed book.

The victorious bidder’s identity was not immediately revealed, nor was it apparent why the cryptocurrency group “ConstitutionDAO” was outbid at that amount, despite the fact that their crowd-funding page had raised over $47 million.

“Community: We did not win the auction,” ConstitutionDAO stated on Twitter, promising a refund minus transaction fees to its 17,437 contributors. It was the largest crowd-funding campaign ever, according to Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s had estimated the exceedingly rare official first-edition printed copy of the United States Constitution, which was adopted by America’s founding fathers in Philadelphia in 1787, to be worth $15 million to $20 million.

It was purchased by the late S. Howard Goldman, a New York real estate entrepreneur and collector of American autographs, documents, and manuscripts, for $165,000 in 1988.

Sotheby’s claimed the winning bid was $41 million, with the ultimate prize of $43.2 million including overheads and other fees.

According to Sotheby’s, the sale revenues will benefit a nonprofit foundation established in his wife’s name, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, to improve the public’s understanding of democracy.

Contributors would become members of the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, or DAO, according to the ConstitutionDAO website, but they would not have had a stake in the document.

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is an online community that uses blockchain technology to allow members to make suggestions and vote on how the organization is governed.

More than $47 million, or 11,600 of the cryptocurrency ether, had been paid into the project, according to the crowdfunding website Juicebox.

“While we @ConstitutionDAO lost the battle, the past seven days showed what a group of internet friends, memes, and a vision can achieve – bidding neck to neck at the most elite art house of the land,” Alice Ma, one of the people behind the project, said on Twitter.