Citadel Securities CEO vs. ConstitutionDAO: A Historic Moment Thwarted

Copy of the US Constitution on Christie’s Auction

In what would have been a historic moment in the world of cryptocurrency, efforts to collectively purchase a first-edition copy of the US Constitution have been thwarted by ironically, the CEO of Citadel Securities — one of the largest multinational hedge fund companies around.

In the days leading up to the auction, a group of crypto “bros” known collectively as ConstitutionDAO had consolidated donations from over 17,000 cryptocurrency wallets in just a span of 72 hours. The group was subsequently able to bid to amounts of $21.3 million, although they were quickly outbid by Mr. Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel Securities for a closing bid of $43.2 million.

While some of the organizing members remained anonymous, others have identified themselves in hopes of achieving greater credibility among fellow crypto-investors. This was the first “mainstream” crowdfunding of such a degree on the blockchain, even though several instances of such fund consolidation have happened in the past.

Although ConstitutionDAO did not manage to achieve its goal of collective ownership, it has in many ways set a new precedent to cryptocurrencies’ role in the art world. Arguably, their ultimate intention to ensure the public availability of this U.S. Constitution copy was echoed by Mr. Griffin, who announced afterward of his intention to borrow the copy of the U.S. Constitution to a relatively unknown art museum in Arkansas founded by Walmart heiress, Alice Walton just over a decade ago.

Moving forward, the organizing committee behind ConstitutionDAO will now need to refund all donations to the thousands of contributors. While a daunting task, their proactiveness in using the right technologies has enabled a relatively smooth process in this regard, although it may take a while before all cryptocurrencies are successfully returned to their original owners.

While ConstitutionDAO was unable to clinch a historical moment in being the first self-organized group to collectively purchase important historical artifacts in an auction, I believe such a scenario will manifest in due time.

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