Art is no longer a medium of expression of ideas, thoughts, feelings or portraying the injustice and inequality. It has transformed into a medium of investment. The right artwork associated with the right artist can be a fortune by itself. Now, with the artworks gaining so much value in the market, greed gets few people to find different ways by which they can make use of this unusual financial instrument and make the most money. This is where the problems of counterfeiting, frauds, smuggling, etc. arise, which is hard to track unless there is a strong, tamper-proof method to verify the movement of artworks, their provenance and authentication.
There have been numerous systems implemented in the past, which haven’t lived up to the expectations either due to their lack of efficiency, integrity or universality. However, in recent days, following the rise of cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology, things have changed. There are quite a few players in the blockchain industry who are working on implementing systems using distributed ledger technology in areas of authentication and provenance, sales and auctions, insurance and art logistics.
Advantages and Industry Reception
The advantages of blockchain as an immutable ledger and their decentralized nature which makes them accessible from anywhere by anyone with the right set of credentials is ideal for creating a global art registry, with high security, scalability and of course with some extra work, great usability. While the blockchain players have been strong proponents of implementation of such solutions in the early days, the landscape has changed with increased acceptability of the inevitable by the art industry itself. This development, and openness of companies and players connected to the art industry is made evident by their participation in some of the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain conferences and summits in recent days. In fact, in 2018, Christie’s – one of the world’s leading art auction houses organized the first ever Art+Tech Summit which was dedicated to exploring the use of blockchain technology.
Industry Players and a New Entrant
Few prominent names in the blockchain for art segment includes the likes of Artory, Verisart, Blockchain Art Collective, Ink Labs Foundation, DADA, Maecenas, ArtPro and more. These projects are very active in managing the Provenance & Certification and/or providing decentralized marketplaces for artworks. Some have extended the application further to even include art insurance and claims processing.