Another day, another honorary distinction given to a truly dumb decision made on the blockchain. Armed with a dearth of copyright law knowledge and an outsized admiration for the God Emperor of Dune (slash Timothee Chalamet), the so-called SpiceDAO saw fit to raise €12m and spend €2.6m to buy a copy of a screenplay for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed Dune adaptation. It was valued by Christie’s at €55k.
This insane overbid can in part be chalked up to the mistaken assumption that, in buying the book, the DAO was also buying the right to produce a 10-hour animated series based on the screenplay. Because NFTs and ownership rights and democracy. I guess? Of course, it doesn’t work that way, a realization that soon descended upon the SpiceDAO Discord, swift and vicious as a sand worm. Dune won’t enter the public domain until 2060, at which point your little brother could make it into a big budget hentai if he so desired. Until then, the rights are owned by the author’s estate. And an old book is owned by an Internet chatroom, which now also owns 1000 less eth.
As easy as it would be to write this mass idiocy off as another common tragedy / tragedy of the commons, there’s an added wrinkle that really cements the dishonor of these Kramer Award recipients. Because ‘Christie’s doesn’t like DAOs’, the SpiceDAO founder, Soban ‘Soby’ Saquib, cashed out his own ethereum to make the purchase, and now is asking for a refund on the sale, and, while we’re at it, his tax bill.
At worst, this could all be a premeditated move on Soby’s part to raise €12m for a coincidentally useless product, creating a reserve of untraceable currency in his own name with no consensus on where to spend it. At best, he found the degens with the most ethereum and least common sense to fund some garden variety tax evasion. Either way, SpiceDAO deserves our award. Clearly, fear isn’t the only mind-killer.
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