Hedge Fund Billionaire Ken Griffins Manages to Outbid for Copy of US Constitution

Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of hedge fund company Citadel LLC, acquired a first-edition copy of the US Constitution at a Sotheby’s auction house on Thursday, November 18.

The billionaire investor paid $43.2 million to secure the document, beating an outbidded group of crypto investors- ConstitutionDAO who also had the same interest of acquiring the extremely rare first-run printing.

Griffin, who is also an art collector, plans to loan the piece to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark, a free museum founded by Philanthropist and Walmart heiress Alice Walton.

Citadel confirmed that Griffin made the winning bid that beat out thousands of crypto investors who worked together to secure the document at Sotheby’s auction.

Sotheby’s stated that the sale set a world auction record for any manuscript, book, historical document, or printed text, as the amount was more than double its $20 million high estimates.

Meanwhile, Griffin talked about the development and said: “The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be. That is why I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces.”

The document was in private hands in the past, having last auctioned in 1988 for $165,000 by Dorothy Tapper Goldman’s late husband, S. Howard Goldman.

Griffin’s triumph over the group was interesting because he has been a vocal sceptic of the use and value of crypto assets.  

Crypto Crowdfunding Fell Short

As reported by Blockchain.News, the auction drew widespread attention last week because of an attempt by the crypto coalition “ConstitutionDAO” to crowdfund a winning bid.

“ConstitutionDAO,” a group of more than 17,000 crypto investors, popularly as recognized as pulled together more than $40 million worth of Ether via a decentralized autonomous organization – a kind of computer protocol –earlier last week in a bid to win the auction.

The crypto group planned to seek a partner to publicly display the document (the printing of the constitution).

The group clarified based on frequently asked questions that the funds would be redeemable (providing anyone with an option for a refund) minus a transaction fee.

Since the group has lost the bid, it is now upon them to decide what will happen to all the cash they raised. However, some members shared plans to potentially allocate the funds towards future auctions.

Unlike an ordinary pool of investors, DAOs rely on crypto technology to track and validate participation in the group and to facilitate the inner workings of how to raise and distribute large amounts of cash.

Image source: CNBC


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Billionaires are backing Bitcoin over gold … but some say Ethereum is even better

Following JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s recent comments that Bitcoin is worthless, two well known billionaires have leapt to its defense — although both of them say Ether has some even more desirable properties.

During an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Oct. 13, Barry Sternlicht, the co-founder of Starwood Capital Group said that gold was actually “worthless” and he is hodling Bitcoin (BTC) because every government in the “western hemisphere” is printing endless amounts of money.

Sternlicht is estimated to have a net worth of around $4.4 billion and is known for his investments in the real estate market via Starwood Capital Group. The investment firm was founded in 1991 and reportedly has around $95 billion worth of assets under management (AUM).

Sternlicht was asked for his take on Jamie Dimon’s reiterated skepticism over BTC being “worthless.”

“Gold is kind of worthless too, and so is silver, I mean they have some industrial uses but they are minor. The reason I own Bitcoin is because the U.S. government and every government in the western hemisphere is printing money now to the end of time,” he said.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has a net worth of $4.3B, echoed similar sentiments when he spoke to CNBC Make IT on Wednesday. Cuban said that BTC is “better than gold,” before going on to say that he thinks Ethereum has the “most upside” as an investment.

Despite favoring BTC over gold, Sternlicht also went on to qualify his support for Bitcoin with praise for Ethereum.

“Bitcoin is a dumb coin, it has no real purpose other than a store of value, and it’s crazily volatile. So Ether, I own some of that, it’s a programmable Bitcoin and there are tons of other coins that are built on that system.”

“I’ve become very interested in blockchain technology as a whole, and the digital ledger which is going to change everything, we’re probably in inning one,” he added.

Related: Billionaire Bill Miller advocates for Bitcoin, but doubtful on altcoins

Not every billionaire is on board the crypto train however. Larry Fink the chairman of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock ($9.4 trillion AUM) stated that he’s “probably more on the Jamie Dimon camp.”

“I’m not a student of Bitcoin and where it’s going to go so I can’t tell you whether it’s going to $80K or $0. But I do believe there is a huge role for a digitized currency,” he said.