A DAO trying to free Julian Assange has raised $4 million and counting

A newly formed decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called AssangeDAO, formed by “a collective of cypherpunks,” is raising funds to be used to fight for the freedom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The DAO is currently raising funds to bid on an NFT by digital artist Pak that was created in collaboration with Assange himself. Similar to ConstitutionDAO, anyone can donate to the pot of funds and donors receive a proportionate amount of its governance token in response. And it’s certainly catching hold; so far the DAO has raised 1,441 ether (worth $4 million)

“This is a powerful movement showing we can organize in the cloud and make a difference on land,” said one of the people behind the DAO who goes by Crypto McKenna on Twitter. McKenna is a smart contract developer and a DeFi advisor, they added.

“We are showing the power of leveraging permissionless, censorship-resistant digital currencies and zero-knowledge proof cryptography for retaining anonymity. We are working hard to ensure the DAO fulfills its mission,” they said.

AssangeDAO was formed on Thursday by McKenna and nine other core contributors, said McKenna. The other contributors include Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton, his fiance Stella Morris, and core Bitcoin developer Amir Taaki.

“AssangeDAO is a line in the sand where DeFi takes a strategic step towards post-corporate democratic wealth,” Taaki told The Block. Cypherpunks around the world have heard Assange’s call, and have rallied to stand in defense of the original cypherpunk.”

Assange and Pak’s collaboration

Assange’s NFT, created by Pak, is going on auction on February 7. The NFT project is dubbed Censored and it will consist of two parts: a dynamic 1/1 and a dynamic open edition. 

McKenna said the NFT will be auctioned on a custom platform that Pak and Shipton have arranged. “It has forked the contracts of Manifold,” they said, adding that more details about the auction will be announced via Pak’s official Twitter account. 

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If AssangeDAO wins the bid for the NFT, the NFT will be held by the DAO, and its contributors will be given the DAO’s governance token, JUSTICE, in proportion to their ETH contributions. Contributors will then decide via governance voting what to do with the NFT and the future roadmap of the DAO. McKenna said there was no initial target for the raise.

If the DAO loses the bid, the ETH contributed by people will then be redeemable via a multi-sig wallet. Taaki is on the multi-sig, said McKenna.

DAOs are catching on

AssangeDAO follows in the footsteps of ConstitutionDAO, a movement that almost managed to secure an early rare copy of the US Constitution. It was bested in the auction by Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin. After the failed auction, owners of its governance token were able to redeem their tokens for the original amount of ETH paid — but the token ended up trading at much higher value on secondary markets. 

Another DAO looking to achieve a similar goal is the Free Ross DAO, which raised funds in an attempt to free Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road online marketplace. It raised 1553 ether ($4.4 million at current prices) to bid on a collection of Ulbricht’s artwork as a single NFT. The DAO won the auction and bought the NFT for 1446 ether ($4 million). Other bidders included ​​the person who owns CryptoPunk 6529 (who operates pseudonymously under the Punk’s identity) and Kraken CEO Jesse Powell.

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