2018 was a year of firsts for the blockchain and the art market.
Digital artwork fetched prices that would have made Dali blush. Auction houses sold works in exchange for cryptocurrency. And something called CryptoKitties took the digital collectibles market by storm.
It was a more active year for blockchain in art than most industries. It’s fitting, considering that artists are known for venturing beyond the norm.
Art is ripe for blockchain-powered innovation because buyers and artists face persistent problems without viable solutions. Buyers have paid top-dollar for countless fakes. Some buyers can’t even afford to purchase the art they so admire. Blockchain presents a solution to both of these issues.
Artists hate to see fakes slip into the marketplace as much as buyers do. And many starving artists would just like to make a living from their work.
The forward momentum of blockchain in art is strong. Expect new use cases to go live in the near future.
1. Marcelo Garcia Casil, CEO and Founder of Maecenas
“Use of blockchain in the industry is still in its nascent stages, but even at this early point its impact is already undeniable. Virtual artists have created digital artwork such as CryptoKitties, which allow users to interact with the art in new and innovative ways. By registering the work on the blockchain, artists can establish proof of ownership. blockchain has also revolutionized how art is bought and sold.”
2. Robert Norton, CEO and Founder of Verisart
We’re seeing an increasing desire from collectors to better catalogue their collections and also artists to embrace better standards of record keeping.”
3. Judy Mam, Co-founder of DADA
“There is a lot of interest from the fine art market in blockchain platforms that are focusing on verifying the authentication and provenance of fine art, such as Codex Protocol or Artory, as well as platforms that are offering fractionalized ownership of art works, like Maecenas.
Auction houses like Christie’s are showing a keen interest in how blockchain can help them solve authentication and provenance issues, and have started putting some of their inventory on the blockchain. Recently, at Miami Art Week there were several panels at different fairs, including Art Basel, dedicated to exploring the connection between blockchain and art.
What is still missing are artists that experiment with blockchain as a creative medium. There are some, like Eve Sussman and her work with Snark.art, but more artists need to become aware of the creative and commercial possibilities of blockchain. I believe that as more established artists experiment with blockchain both creatively and as an alternative way to market themselves, the art world will catch up.
4. Steve Gow, Co-Founder of UppstArt.io
“The art blockchain industry is very much in the “pilot” phase of its lifecycle as different use-cases are explored and beta projects are launched. There’s been some experimentation with “tokenizing” artwork to enable multi or co-ownership of paintings, registering artwork on blockchain title registries, tracking provenance on distributed ledgers, and even creating new art using blockchain technology.
However, blockchain art projects have not seen the widespread adoption that all the hype out there would lead you to believe. Many new ventures have received considerable investment but are struggling to find product-market fit.”
5. Matthew Arnett, CEO of FORT NFT Protocol
“2018 marked the opening of art industry to the power and possibilities of blockchain technology. Most current use cases have been centered around provenance, governance and transparency of the art industry. There is a general mood of anticipation and curiosity about what advantages and solutions blockchain technology will bring to the art industry. Overall, the current state of blockchain in the art industry is optimistic.”
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