Since the beginning of the cryptocurrency movement, the social potential of Bitcoin (BTC) has been one of the fundamental selling points. The decentralized design of crypto-based systems introduces the ability to bring people together to work toward shared goals, as well as allowing them to pool resources while remaining isolated from external control. 2021 saw a series of cases that could serve as evidence of this emancipatory power of digital assets.
ConstitutionDAO: $ 49 million raised in a few days
Arguably the most prominent case of a massive fundraising effort enabled by a decentralized autonomous organization in 2021 was ConstitutionDAO. The group was formed in November with the sole objective of purchasing an original copy of the United States Constitution, which was up for auction at Sotheby’s.
The DAO got very close to its target. The artifact was sold for a bid of $ 43.2 million, and although the DAO managed to raise around $ 47 million in Ether (ETH), its bid was ultimately capped by Sotheby’s to $ 43 million to account for the required taxes and costs. to protect, secure and move the Constitution. After the auction, the DAO offered full refunds to anyone who donated. Those who did not accept refunds kept the PEOPLE governance tokens they had received in exchange for their contribution.
As a statement from ConstitutionDAO saying, “While this was not the result we expected, tonight we made history.” It’s hard to argue with this as it only took a week to raise the money from 17,437 backers.
BlockbusterDAO: empowering decentralized streaming
In December 2021, the founders of BlockbusterDAO announced that they had formed a new decentralized autonomous organization with the goal of buying Blockbuster, an American brand that originally operated as a video rental company. At its peak, Blockbuster had 6,000 stores worldwide and was valued at more than $ 8 billion. It closed nearly all of its operations in 2014 and currently operates only one store in Oregon. Strictly speaking, this initiative is not expected to fully materialize until 2022.
The DAO explained in a cheep which plans to put together a grassroots effort to buy Blockbuster by raising at least $ 5 million through a non-fungible token (NFT) minting event, with each NFT valued at 0.13 ETH. BlockbusterDAO plans to turn Blockbuster into a decentralized movie streaming studio. There are currently more than 20,000 Internet users committed to the project on Twitter and Discord.
Fortune Journalism PleasrFund: Supporting Journalistic Integrity
In September 2021, American business magazine Fortune, together with NFT artist Pplpleasr, launched a decentralized endowment fund, with proceeds going to freelance journalists and programs that promote journalistic integrity.
The Fortune Journalism PleasrFund was launched on the Ethereum blockchain via Endaoment, a charity-focused DAO. It has allocated 214.55 ETH, worth approximately $ 680,000 at the time of this writing, which represents half of the proceeds from the sale of a limited edition Pplpleasr NFT that had been commissioned by Fortune.
The four initial recipients of the fund are Report for America / The GroundTruth Project, the Institute for Nonprofit News, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders. Each organization received an initial distribution of approximately $ 165,000 from Fortune and Pplpleasr.
The infrastructure law battle
Sometimes the lost battle makes the story of the war won. Hopefully, this is how we will remember the fierce resistance the crypto community mounted against crypto-related last minute additions to the vast $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
Interestingly, the new tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency brokers were part of the bipartisan agreement that made the ambitious federal spending bill possible, with some estimates suggesting that this new tax base would help the Internal Revenue Service increase federal revenue in approximately $ 28 billion. more than 10 years.
In response, Fight for the Future, a technology advocacy group, launched a counter-initiative urging US voters to call their representatives to oppose the bill’s crypto provisions, something it labeled a ” crypto red alert “. The Senate offices were inundated with phone calls, and the list of influencers who openly opposed the proposed measures included the likes of Jack Dorsey, who runs Twitter and Block (formally Square), and Brian Brooks, the former acting comptroller of the currency that is now in Bitfury.
The setback led to a multi-day stalemate in the legislature. And despite the fact that the infrastructure bill ended up being passed and signed without any changes to its cryptocurrency-related language, the tumult the crypto community was able to provoke demonstrates its growing lobbying power.
As Mick Mulvaney, who served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, put it:
What I think you’re seeing is the maturing of the industry – you see crypto people now understand how Washington can influence their world and Washington is learning a bit about the technology.
Of course, the aforementioned examples hardly exhaust all of the crypto-driven social and political initiatives that we saw in 2021. On the one hand, there were numerous examples of philanthropy, such as the NFT Trippy Bunny project donating all proceeds from its mint sales to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Cancer Society’s Crypto Cancer Fund launching in January 2021. These examples represent an additional domain where cryptocurrencies can make a difference.
In 2021, it became clear that the potential for decentralized autonomous organizations and crypto-driven political action is truly enormous. But we’re just getting started, and there are every reason to believe that this trend will only get stronger in 2022.