Blockchain: Good News for Art
There is a clear interest by various stakeholders and multiple startups at introducing blockchain in art world. The Art Market 2.0 report, Blockchain and the Financialization in Visual Arts, notes the current status of blockchain in the artworld as similar to the rise of the Internet in 1993. It is difficult to predict with certainty if the art galleries and museums of tomorrow will adopt blockchain technology. However, it seems that these institutions are quite interested in this phenomenon and the possibilities it offers.
Monart is publishing a comprehensive series of articles aimed at bringing more art to all of our lives, our homes, and our cities, with new blockchain art proposals and more including:
|1. More Art in My Life: Why Art?
2. More Art in My Life: Art & Blockchain
3. More Art in My Life: Blockchain Definitions
4. More Art in My Life: Art in Our phones
5. More Art in My Life: Smart City, Art City
6. More Art in My Life: Artist Promotion
|7. More Art in My Life: Art 3.0
8. More Art in My Life: Art Festivals Influence
9. More Art in My Life: Art Therapy
10. More Art in My Life: Art in Our Offices
11. More Art in My Life: Art & Society
12. More Art in My Life: Art & Hotels
2018: A Prolific Year for Art and Blockchain
The Art Basel Miami Beach promoted nearly a dozen different panels on art and blockchain. Russian gallery owner Tretyakov launched “My Tretyakov“, a project using blockchain technology which allows individuals or companies to make a private donation toward the digitalization of an item and the management of these art collections.
Christie’s, one of the world’s leading auction houses, collaborated with the blockchain-based registry Artory to conduct a sale from the Ebsworth family collection. Christie’s also organized the first-ever sale of crypto art in a real-life saleroom. The auction was for an original piece of CryptoKitty digital art created by artist Guilherme Twardowski and sold for $140,000 (all proceeds were donated to charity). Christie’s also held its first-ever Art+Tech Summit dedicated to ‘Exploring Blockchain’.
In 2019, the first blockchain art gallery collection was live on Artsy, an art collection platform backed by investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt, Chris Dixon, and Peter Thiel. An Andy Warhol artwork called “Fourteen Small Electric Chairs” was sold at an auction with cryptocurrencies. The painting was tokenized and sold as digital certificates, allowing investors to buy a fraction of the iconic artwork, so that anyone with a small amount of money could own part of an iconic Warhol artwork.
A Blockchain Ecosystem Around Art
There are many experiments being conducted by promising startups such as KnownOrigin, Dada.nyc, SuperRare, and monart exploring the uses of blockchain technology in the art world. There are clues showing that the world is becoming more open than ever to the concept of digital art, especially with our new ability to create digital scarcity, all thanks to blockchain technology. These days, companies are experimenting with the digital art space — and not just in creating art. Blockchain is driving innovations in the automation, interoperability, security, and accessibility of data from transactions and records. The major use cases from blockchain technology are authentication and provenance tracking, smart asset management, and tokenization and fractionalization of ownership.
A Safer and More Transparent Art World
According to a 2014 report from The Fine Arts Institute (FAEI) in Geneva, over 50% of artworks were not attributed to the correct artist. With blockchain, information and documents are public, decentralized, linked, and secured using cryptography. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, no centralized version of the information exists for a hacker to access or corrupt. Thus, blockchain is currently considered to be the most secure way to transfer digital data. For selling artworks, the blockchain allows individuals to track and verify authenticity through timestamps on transactions and cryptographic signatures.
Blockchain will allow the market to become more transparent, track ownership and provenance, and provide an infrastructure for the tokenization of fractional artwork sales. Digital currency and blockchain may help shape the art world in the future. But we have to ask: Is the art world ready for blockchain, and if so, could it have a meaningful impact on the world as a whole?
A Protection for Artists
Blockchain technology can protect artists by certifying authenticity or helping artists to profit more from their creative artworks. In practice, numerous artists use Blockchain from bitcoin graffiti art to artworks such as “The Last Bitcoin Supper” by French artist Youl, which sold for nearly USD 3,000 on eBay in 2014. During this year’s Codex Art Auction, exclusive editions were auctioned for up to USD 140,000, attracting a new class of collectors – a class which is likely more attracted to less conventional forms of art. With CryptoKitties, people prefer not to buy traditional art. What they are buying is a new form of a digital collectible. However, there are still some advances to be made before these new forms of art will be accepted by the traditional gallery system and more culturally-minded art collectors.
Blockchain is Changing Digital Art
Blockchain is fostering the emergence of a new generation of artistic content. Google Kevin Abosch, Ai Weiwei, Trevor Jones, Jonas Lund, Jessica Anges or Nanu Berks, etc. Nanu Berks, etc. The reality is that blockchain is deeply changing digital art. Blockchain technology makes it possible to track the reproduction and versioning of an artwork, a difficult task to do accurately up to now. With Non-Fungible Tokens, individuals can control scarcity and decide if they want to create a unique and original version of an object or make a series of it while being able to track all of the existing versions. They can also decide to fraction a creation into different pieces.
With Blockchain, Art is More Accessible for Buyers
Art is also becoming increasingly accessible for buyers. Once reserved to the elites who collected art for its aesthetic qualities or as a long-term investment, art is becoming something everyone can afford. The emphasis is now placed on investment rather than pure aesthetic qualities. With fractional ownership, people can buy a part of an artwork with other buyers. This opens the art market to new kind of investors who would never have been able to afford art otherwise. The aesthetic aspect is now less important too, as these new investors don’t buy art with a view to hang it on their wall. If more buyers enter the art market, this means that there could be even more sales of traditional and digital art in the future. The art market seems to know only one way at the moment which is up.
In July 2018, blockchain platform Maecenas partnered with London gallery Dadiani Fine Art to offer fractional stakes in Andy Warhol’s “14 Small Electric Chairs (1980)”. 31.5% of the Warhol work went up for sale in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The total dollar value of the cryptocurrency share of the work was $5.6 million and this eventwas a landmark for art and technology.
Beginning in 2019, a street artist painted a fresco in Paris with 0.26 BTC included in it as a prize (valuing $1000 in early January 2019); the puzzle was solved in less than a week.
Blockchain Technology is Shaping the Art World through Non-Fungible Tokens
The world of non-fungible tokens is currently teeming with new projects similar to monart that are going to define the future evolutions and uses of blockchain technology. Since non-fungible tokens are unique, they also bring with them the concept of scarcity but also collection. That is why they are so well-suited for anything that involves gathering and exchanging unique items. It also allows for a very secure proof of ownership, something thatblockchain can attest to.