Crypto fans lose US constitution to billionaire
People take photos of the extremely rare first impression of the United States Constitution, which was sold this week by auction house Sotheby’s in New York City.
Photo: Yuki Iwamura / AFP via Getty Images
If anything can make the world more sympathetic to the goals of cryptos, it would be one of the richest hedge fund managers in the world who wins an auction for a copy of the U.S. Constitution. According to The the Wall Street newspaper, the founder of the Citadel and 83rd richest person in the world, Ken Griffin, was the winning bidder for the first original edition of the Constitution, one of 13 that survived, for a record $ 43.2 million of dollars. He defeated a group of 17,000 crypto enthusiasts who had pooled their digital money in some sort of crowdfunding campaign with the goal of publicly displaying it in a high traffic public institution. Instead, Griffin – worth around $ 22 billion – plans to loan it to a barely ten-year-old art museum in Bentonville, Ark., Founded by the Walmart heiress. , Alice Walton.
Griffin, of course, is a big spender, the kind of thing all this money is for if I’m not going to use it. He closed the world’s most expensive apartment, a 24,000 square foot penthouse overlooking Central Park, in 2019 for $ 238 million. The Museum of Modern Art named its east wing in his honor, and he got the entire Chicago Museum of Science and Industry renamed for him following a donation of $ 125 million. He is a great collector of modern art, including Pollacks and Basquiats. ArtNews ranks it among the top 200 collectors.
What makes this tension-ridden auction result is the obvious Big Rich Mean Man versus The People narrative. On the winning side, you have Griffin’s Citadel, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the hedge funds the internet can name that likes to get angry. Recently, Citadel has gained attention because it is one of the companies that buys transactions and data from Robinhood, the stock trading app popular among the day-trading crowd for its lack of trading fees. negotiation, but that also gives them an edge in the market. Earlier this year, amid the frenzy of GameStop meme actions, day-traders on Reddit’s board, WallStreetBets, accused Citadel of pressuring Robinhood to limit trading in meme stocks to protect them. hedge funds. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected this theory in October, the die has been cast. Griffin was generally viewed as an old guard financier looking to spoil everyone’s fun. (That’s not entirely true, and Griffin, a crypto-skeptic, has made positive noises about Ethereum, the digital currency used by cryptos to try to buy the copy of the Constitution.) WallStreetBets to insult and revere the movement. “It’s too good to be true,” commented one editor. “Before the auction, crypto folks joked that only a real villain would outbid a decentralized organization formed by the people to collectively buy the Constitution.”
On the losing side was the cryptos, which had raised $ 47 million but still found themselves short. According to the group, there were 17,437, all organized under a kind of Kickstarter campaign called DAO – short for decentralized autonomous organization. The idea was, what if people around the world could pool their crypto in this kind of shell company, buy a copy of the Constitution, and then flaunt it for the public good? It was a success. The median amount given to the ConstitutionDAO was $ 206.06 – the kind of relatively low number any politician would brag about, despite the average contribution being more than ten times that much. Yet before Griffin was revealed as the winning bidder, the ConstitutionDAO was seen as an odd crypto joke by Too Online that put parchment emoji in their Twitter profiles – the kind of thing that seemed to attract excitement from people in a very polarizing niche. But now that the cryptos have lost and a piece of American history is very likely to double as a tax break, the whole business has acquired a sort of collectivist afterglow, whether deserved or not.
That’s not a Wrong thing that the Arkansans will have a chance to see the historical document, and pretty much all of the great museums are sponsored or owned by extremely wealthy people, so it’s not like Walton is an outlier. The New York Public Library already has a copy of the Declaration of Independence in the hand of Thomas Jefferson, and the current Constitution is available at the National Archives in Washington, DC Zia Ahmed, a spokesperson for Citadel, told Intelligencer “This copy will now be available to the public free of charge and be displayed in various public places across the United States over time. So there is a chance that if you didn’t want to make the trip to Bentonville to see this Constitution in particular, you just have to wait.
This post has been updated.