ConstitutionDAO Is Shutting Down After Unrelenting Chaos

The attempt by crypto fans to buy a copy of the Constitution has been defined by chaos since it failed. Now, it's dead.
November 23, 2021, 8:30pm
ConstitutionDAO Is Shutting Down After Unrelenting Chaos
Image: Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

ConstitutionDAO, the failed attempt to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution at auction after raising more than $40 million in crypto from thousands of strangers, is shutting down after a week of protracted catastrophe.

The announcement was made in the group's Discord channel on Tuesday, a day after refunds were made available for everyone who contributed to the project. The project's website was updated with the same announcement.

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"This project has been such an incredible experience, and we are so honored and appreciative to have been on this journey with you," said the post. "We know that everyone is eager to hear what the next steps for ConstitutionDAO are, and we’ve been deeply exploring several options for this over the last four days. While we would very much like to have been able to do so, 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."

ConstitutionDAO has been defined by chaos ever since it was outbid by a hedge fund CEO last week. In the aftermath, nobody knew if they won or not, and after that nobody could decide on what to do next, plans changed, there was rampant in-fighting over things like the speculative value of the DAO's "governance token" named $PEOPLE, and there was much anger over high network fees that were completely wiping out some people's refunds, or otherwise taking a huge chunk out. The DAO never even lived up to its namesake, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, because not even a single vote was ever carried out using its token. 

Throughout the entire saga there was always the specter of the DAO continuing even if it failed in its initial goal of buying the Constitution. Even on Monday, some users were burning their ETH and collecting $PEOPLE tokens, perhaps in the belief that the DAO would continue and perhaps the tokens might become valuable like the many other DAO governance tokens that currently make up a $40 billion market. Now, that hope is dead. 

All of it has been a very hard lesson to learn, for some, while others continued to hold it up as a win. It did manage to raise an ungodly sum of money from many strangers on the internet, even if it ultimately failed, and that's enough for true believers. Even in the statement that announced the DAO would not be continuing, the admin portrayed the attempt as an overall success. 

"The community has taken all actions that it was organized to accomplish: we raised capital, we bid at Sotheby’s, and upon losing, we made full refunds available to the community as promised," the statement said. 

The statement encouraged everyone who donated to the project to get a refund, and stated that there is no time limit. The Discord channel will be kept alive for two weeks "for discussion," and then locked down. 

Despite it all, the announcement ended on a sunny note: 

"This project was a landmark event that showed the entire world that a group of internet friends can use the power of web3 to face a seemingly insurmountable goal and achieve incredible results on an impossible timeline. It is our sincere hope that this project will spark many others that take inspiration from the enthusiasm and accomplishments of everyone involved to use the power of web3 to make a positive impact on the world. We love you all, and are truly humbled to have been part of history together."