The Cryptocurrency Collective Built Around a Copy of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune script bible will no longer be a collective and try to be . to sell Dune Bible.
Spice DAO (short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization) recently started “Redemption Phase One”, a fundamental shift in its direction. After a series of setbacks in an ambitious plan for a cryptography-powered media studio, the group is making people holding its $SPICE token pay out by withdrawing their funds from the group’s treasury. It will change its name to “Spice Club”, a “members only group” rather than a body with a formal voting structure. And it will keep maintenance costs to an absolute minimum, a process of handing over the fragile and valuable book that inspired its creation.
Members who own $SPICE can earn money from the Spice Club’s remaining initiatives. The group hopes to monetize the sale of the book and a non-fungible token (NFT) partnership with comic book artist Frank Miller. But that plan is complicated by the bleak state of the cryptocurrency market and legal questions surrounding DAOs and tokens like $SPICE, as well as doubts about whether the book can be auctioned off for something remotely approaching the purchase price of about $3 million.
The group’s current plan includes the sale of the Dune bible in the fourth quarter of 2023, coinciding with the film’s release Dune: part two. The group before together with comics publisher Frank Miller Presents on an NFT series, which still plans to help release. All remaining $SPICE holders could get a share of the treasury after these projects go live, although the legal language is somewhat restrained. In the Spice Club Discord, project leader Kortelin noted that the team was cautious in anticipation of possible crypto regulation. Alternatively, they can “burn” their $SPICE and withdraw 0.3 ETH, or about $450, per million tokens. The group’s treasury currently indicates that the net worth is approximately $1 million.
Spice Club was one of many crypto DAOs, but it was unusually ambitious. Started as a crowdfunding project to get a copy of Jodorowsky’s . to buy Dune bible, it ended up with a treasury worth millions of dollars after winning an auction in November 2021. The DAO hoped the physical condition of the Dune book, find a way to scan and publicly distribute its contents, and produce media similar to Jodorowksy’s never-before-made adaptation of Dune. Until now, Spice Club managed the first of these tasks, paying for maintenance with Treasury funds. It also funded a competition to find stories that could be turned into a TV miniseries and paid for a script by Love, death and robots writer Philip Gelatt. These projects, as well as the Frank Miller NFTs, were proposed by a small core team and then approved by a vote of people who purchased $SPICE tokens.
But in the months following the auction, the group ran into all sorts of problems, some predictable, some less so. Had a hard time finding a way to get the Dune bible available to members without violating copyright laws. The group also bought the bible just before a drop in crypto prices that has since turned into a full-blown crash, decimating the treasury, which was largely held in Ethereum. Earlier this year, one of the founders resigned after being linked to a intentionally hateful online art project personacausing the project’s original figurehead, Soban “Soby” Saqib, to distance himself from the operation.
As part of the recent transition to ‘Spice Club’, Saqib is stepping aside from the project even more and giving up his access to the treasury.
Meanwhile, Kortelin indicated on Discord that the book currently has “no willing buyers”, although that could change before the planned sale next year. Regardless, the book is unlikely to reach its original retail price – which was unusually high for an edition of the Dune bible, possibly thanks to the hype surrounding the crowdfunding campaign.
“I really wish this turned out better, DAO delusion was at its peak as the community embarked on this journey together,” Saqib posted to Discord after the liquidation operation began. “At least the DAO makes people whole and don’t let hubris get in the way.”