What if we held hands and bought the Constitution together?

Nicholas Ptacek
3 min readNov 16, 2021

Witness the power of web3 in action

This essay is one of 7 essays for The Tech Progressive Writing Challenge. Check out build_ to join the conversation.

Over the weekend, a small group of friends memed a joke into reality, and decided to buy the US Constitution. Well, it’s technically not the Constitution, but rather an original printing, and the only one that resides with a private collector. It goes up for auction at Sotheby’s this week, and is expected to fetch upwards of $20 million USD. ConstitutionDao is a web3 experiment in the grandest sense, an entire community that formed spontaneously and organically, springing into existence to attain a shared community goal. The lessons learned during this hectic week will better inform future work with startup cities and network unions.

Picture of the US Constitution with the words “We The People” in a larger font size compared to the rest of the document.

Organized Chaos

What does all of this look like from the inside? Organized chaos at times. Discord channels scroll by faster than you can keep up with, and the same questions are repeated ad infinitum as more and more newcomers appear. Yet there is also time for slower, more reflective interaction, and time for learning. You can even just chill and watch the design team doing their thing in Figma when the chat gets to be a bit much. The core team keeps everybody updated through frequent posts, and has an ongoing FAQ to point newcomers to.

Growing Pains

These aren’t new problems, and are ones faced by any community that grows at web3 speed. The core team has enough on their hands trying to get the infrastructure in place for the technical act of crowdfunding an auction bid at short notice, exacerbating existing issues with community-building and highlighting areas where the web3 space could show improvement. One such area is how to effectively scale the core team. In a less frenetically-paced DAO, this process isn’t as much of a issue, but in situations like this there can be a bit of a talent pileup, with too many volunteers for too few positions. This will likely be a repeating occurrence for viral DAOs that scale exponentially, and is worth keeping in mind moving forward.

A cartoon-style line drawing of a what could be a ball of string.

Improving the Experience

One area of improvement would be a more efficient way for DAOs to direct excess volunteers to other projects. Some projects may have too many designers and not enough solidity devs, others might need help setting up an initial moderation team on Discord. Some of these can be solved through onboarding guides and templates, but others will require better tools to connect talent with need. There are more than enough projects for people to participate in; the problem right now is one of discovery–both on the part of the projects as well as those looking to actively participate in them. By helping direct skill and talent to where it’s needed most (across DAOs, even), we streamline the creative process, and ensure the most efficient use of our time and attention.

Looking Ahead

When the core team gets a chance to breathe, it would be great to hear what the experience has been like on their end of things. What ways can the community-building process be streamlined? What would they do differently if given the chance? These answers will help shape and inform the next experiment in the web3 space, itself only one building block of many to come.

Buckle up. Things are just getting started.