Even by the anything-goes standards of the crypto community, this counts as an audacious plot: buying the Constitution of the United States of America.

One of just 13 surviving “official edition” copies of America’s founding document – and one of two in private hands – is set to be auctioned off 10.30am on Friday (Sydney time) by New York auction house Sotheby’s.

While the sale was announced in September, last Thursday crypto buffs hit upon the idea of a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO) buying the historic artifact.

ConstitutionDAO this morning had raised 6,548 Ethereum, worth US$27.7 million, in just three days.

Sotehby’s expects the document to fetch US$15 million to US$20 million, and donations seemed to be pouring in – there had been 22 in the past 30 minutes when Stockhead checked yesterday, for a total of 4.3 Ether. (US$18,000).

“Hell to the motherflippin yes. Power to the people,” wrote one user who donated 0.06 Eth (US$250), and said they were a “refugee who got by in youth because of the kindness of strangers”.

“you’re in her dms, i’m buying the constitution,” wrote another user who contributed 0.02 Eth (US$83), riffing off an internet meme.

The group’s Discord channel had over 12,000 users yesterday, some of whom had been listening to an audio chat of someone reading the document.

What’s a DAO?

For those who aren’t familiar, a DAO is like a crypto-cooperative that’s governed by its tokenholders, who can use their coins to cast votes. Contributors to the ConstitutionDAO effort are receiving PEOPLE governance tokens in exchange for their donations.

Last month Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg’s Senate Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre drew international headlines after it recommended Australia create a legal framework for DAOs. They’ve also been recognised in the US state of Wyoming since July.

Also last month, the collective known as PleasrDAO revealed it had bought Wu Tang Clan’s  one of a kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin from the US government after they seized it from “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli.

The ConstitutionDAO group is seeking an “esteemed partner” to display the Constitution if it wins the auction.

“The eventual home must have the expertise to properly house, store, and maintain the artifact,” its website says. “Additionally, the community has expressed strong preferences for institutions that are free to the public and willing to cover the costs associated with housing the document.”

The amount of money the group has raised has been updated.