An original copy of the United States Constitution went up for auction last week. This was the only original copy not in possession of the government nor some historical society/museum.
An original print of the Constitution is cool enough to me, but what’s potentially a harbinger of more important things to come is the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that was formed just days before the auction.
The group ConstitutionDAO formed, allowing anyone interested in contributing to pool their funds to submit a bid for the document and have a say (if the bid was won) over what to do with the copy of the Constitution.
Users from all over the world were able to come together, pool funds using the cryptocurrency Ethereum, and agree (because of Ethereum’s inherent capabilities) on a governance structure. From The Verge
If it had succeeded, the DAO planned to determine the document’s future by vote based on governance tokens passed out to contributors and distributed through the Ethereum blockchain.
So…what is a DAO? Wikipedia defines a DAO as:
A decentralized autonomous organization
), sometimes called a decentralized autonomous corporation
), is an organization
represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government. A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain
Ultimately, ConstitutionDAO did not win the auction, BUT I’m more interested in the speed, scope, and governance that came together in such a short period. Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, GoFundMe, etc.) has been instrumental in pooling funds for common causes, but the concept of self-governance directly embedded in the organization itself is potentially transformational.
I’m not sure what future DAOs will enable, but I have a hunch they’ll find more and more compelling use cases.