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ConstitutionDAO Irks Donors as Gas Fees and Transaction Costs Eat Into Refunds

As ConstitutionDAO dissolves following its unsuccessful bid for the historic document, donors are chafing at its refund policy and high gas costs.

ConstitutionDAO Irks Donors as Gas Fees and Transaction Costs Eat Into Refunds

ConsitutionDAO, the group that fell short in its bid to purchase the first edition copy of the U.S. Constitution, has announced that it will dissolve and return all funds to contributors.

Now comes the thornier issue of refunding funds minus Ethereum gas fees. 

Following days of deliberating its next move, ConstitutionDAO announced it will shut down on Nov. 23 one day after its refund portal went live. The DAO broke fundraising records and attracted mainstream media attention in its quest to buy the sole remaining privately owned copy of the historic document.

Ultimately, weve come to the decision that continuing on without the unifying mission of buying the constitution, setting up more official governance, and embarking on a new chapter is not something that we as a core team are able to support.

— ConstitutionDAO (?, ?) (@ConstitutionDAO) November 23, 2021

“This project was a landmark event,” ConstitutionDAO posted to Twitter. We made history and showed the entire world that a group of internet friends can use the power of web3 to face a seemingly insurmountable goal and achieve incredible results on an impossible timeline.”

ConstitutionDAO noted that the “technical and administrative requirements” of pursuing a new agenda prompted its decision to dissolve.  

“We believe this project has run its course […] The ConstitutionDAO community has taken all actions that it was organized to accomplish: we raised capital, we bid at Sotheby’s, and upon losing, we made full refunds available to the community as promised.”

ConstitutionDAO rapidly grew from a flippant idea into a thriving Discord in less than two weeks, with the project receiving roughly $47M worth of Ether donations from 17,437 unique wallets. It  broke the record for funds raised within 72 hours.

However, with a median donation of $206.26 and Ethereum’s gas fees trending higher, many users claiming refunds are expected to lose a significant share of their donations. Moreover, it cost donors $60 to make a deposit in the DAO and probably another $60 to claim their refunds. 

Gas Fees

Many commenters expressed dissatisfaction with the process.

Twitter user “ParikPatelCFA” asked what will happen to funds that go unclaimed due to gas fees, speculating: “If median donation was $200 that’s gonna be a pretty decent chunk stuck.”

“Harrycanuck” suggested that the DAO could wait three months and transfer any unclaimed Ether onto a Layer 2 network and enable claims on the cheaper chain. “Charliemktplace” similarly offered that utilizing sidechains like Polygon and xDai could facilitate cheaper refunds. “Makes 0% sense to refund on mainnet since there isn’t a time constraint,” they added. 

More than 50% of the Ethereum contributed to ConstitutionDAO has already been claimed as refunds.

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