Where ConstitutionDAO Failed, Another Hopeful Wins at Sotheby’s
(Bloomberg) -- It seemed like the intersection of cryptocurrency and collectibles couldn’t get any more confusing until it did, with an aspiring developer of a decentralized autonomous organization saying the group won the bidding for a historical document just days after another came up short at an auction of a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Ameer Suhayb Carter said on Twitter on Wednesday that a “research” DAO fund he heads called Abolition in Progress won the bidding for the Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention, a founding document of the American abolitionist movement that was issued in 1833 at the first meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia. The lot, which had an initial estimate of $3,000 to $5,000, according to Sotheby’s, sold for $21,420. The auction house declined to comment on the winning bid.
The problem is that Abolition in Progress is not yet a DAO, which is basically a crowdfunding entity that exists on a blockchain, the computer ledger-like networks that underpin cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Carter won at auction as an individual and he says, as a representative, using funds informally pooled together through friends and like-minded crypto enthusiasts. The Philadelphia resident told Bloomberg that he got the idea after hearing about the ConstitutionDAO’s failed attempt to buy the copy of the framework of the U.S. government.
In a DAO, every holder of a DAO token theoretically has an equal say, unlike say a board of directors. Still, the emerging entities raise just as many questions as they do options. The ConstitutionDAO is in the process of being dissolved after issues with refunds to contributors, including high fees for blockchain transactions and questions around what the DAO would do next in the wake of the loss.
Carter said he is working with legal representation to donate the document officially to his group, saying he didn’t have time to set up the proper structure and have it approved by Sotheby’s before auction time.
The 27-year-old is a senior user experience designer at translation services company TransPerfect.
Carter said Abolition in Progress is gaining steam after he tweeted about the group’s success. Prior to the winning auction bid, the group stood at 20 members; it has since expanded to roughly 60, he said.
The group is also in the process of raising money, with the goal of 100 Ether, or about $425,000. About $40,000 has been pooled, according to PartyBid, a protocol developed by PartyDAO that allows groups to pool capital and bid on auctions.
“We collectively own this, but it’s not about the document, it’s about attempting to solve many of the systemic issues not just in America but worldwide,” Carter said. “This document was a symbolic banner of that effort.”
Whether a DAO ever gets created remains to be seen, but Carter’s example shows that you don’t actually need one to win at auction.
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