ConstitutionDAO disbands after losing its bid to buy a copy of the Constitution

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ConstitutionDAO disbands after losing its bid to buy a copy of the Constitution
US Constitution.Getty Images
  • ConstitutionDAO is disbanding after losing its bid to buy a copy of the US Constitution to Citadel's Ken Griffin.
  • The decentralized autonomous organization had collected $47 million in donations.
  • "There is no time limit on claiming these refunds," ConstitutionDAO said.

ConstitutionDAO, a loosely-organized group that lost its bid to buy a rare copy of the US Constitution, is disbanding and will let donors take back the $47 million they contributed.

The core team behind a cohort of around 17,000 people made the announcement on their website, Twitter, and Discord accounts Tuesday.

"We have 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," its website said. "We believe this project has run its course."

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The DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization, encouraged everyone who contributed to claim their money.

"There is no time limit on claiming these refunds," the website said. "The Discord chat will be left open for 14 days for discussion, and then will shift to read-only."

A public document it issued provided specific steps on how to claim refunds as well as details on the future of the group's token called We The People.

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ConstitutionDAO made headlines last week when it raised more than $40 million in a span of a few days to buy one of 13 remaining copies of the US Constitution at Sotheby's auction house.

DAOs are internet communities that pull capital together and decide collectively how to invest it. ConstitutionDAO started as a joke on Twitter after Sotheby's announcement.

The group lost out to Citadel CEO Ken Griffin. Soon after the auction, the DAO gave donors two options: either to get a refund or to stay invested for the next project.

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But what many, especially newcomers, failed to realize is the cost of gas fees, which are required in every transaction. Gas fees, in essence, are fees users pay to miners for the computing energy required to process and validate their transactions. These fluctuate depending on the time of day but are particularly expensive on the ethereum blockchain.

In the case of ConstitutionDAO, the entire ethereum-based project amassed more than $1.5 million in gas fees, or roughly 3.5% of the $47 million collected, according to Quartz.

And given that the median donation was $206.26, according to its Discord chat, many donors may see a huge chunk of their money not refunded.

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