📜 The DAO Heard Round The World
Have you heard about ConstitutionDAO? In less than a week, the crypto community has created a brand new organization and funded it with cryptocurrency worth over $40 million. The objective: buy a first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution that’s being auctioned off by Sotheby’s.
The Beeple auction showed that crypto sells, and it got people talking about NFT’s. Tonight’s auction will show that crypto coordinates, and it will get people talking about DAO’s.
I’ll admit it. I like the Constitution, I like numbers with meaning, and I own crypto. So I contributed Ξ0.1787 to ConstitutionDAO.
Here are 13 things I learned from the experience:
There’s nothing more powerful than a simple, beautiful idea. Like buying the Constitution to ensure it’s made available for public viewing.
DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization.
Don’t let the name intimidate you. It’s a reasonable approximation to think of DAO’s as digital organizations. Just as it’s a reasonable approximation to think of NFT’s as digital goods.
Don’t let the name fool you. One day, some DAO’s might be Decentralized and Autonomous. But for now they’re simply groups of people who decide to work together according to a set of rules that happen to be enshrined in code (as opposed to, say, parchment).
In DAO’s, as in other organizations, leadership matters. When figuring out whether I wanted to chip in, I didn’t look at the code. I looked at who was involved.
We’re in the early days of harnessing crypto to do good. ConstitutionDAO is showing what’s possible, but I suspect we’ll look back on it as a relatively small-scale initiative.
Just like other organizations, DAO’s can organize for good or evil. I think this one’s doing something good. But it won’t be long before a DAO is created for a purpose that you or I find objectionable.
Crypto is still painful to use. The explainer video on how to contribute money to ConstitutionDAO is 6 minutes long.
Crypto is still expensive to use. It cost $50 in fees to contribute to ConstitutionDAO. (Payable to those who run the machines that keep the Ethereum blockchain secure — not to the organizers of ConstitutionDAO.)
Crypto is a legal minefield. What do you get in return for putting money into the DAO? A governance token — a digital thing that sits in your digital wallet. Is it an asset? Well, it kind of seems valuable, because it gives you a say in the decisions made by the DAO. Is it a security? Absolutely not! Because if it is, it’s subject to a lot of regulation.
There aren’t many things that bridge the political divide, but the Constitution is still one of them. Join the discussion in the ConstitutionDAO Discord server, and you’ll find people all over the political map.
Online communication hasn’t changed all that much in the last few decades. Discord servers feel a lot like AOL chat rooms.
Crypto is new, but the motivations of people involved in crypto are not. Sometimes it’s about money. Sometimes it’s about doing good. And sometimes it’s about wanting to feel like you’re a part of something special.
Last night I was asked: “So what’s the latest? Are they going to buy the Constitution?”
“We,” I quickly corrected. “We are going to buy the Constitution.”