Blockchains impact in the artworld is undeniable. With a public, decentralised list of records, linked and secured using cryptography, blockchains are the most secure way to transfer digital data. Its capacity to track and verify the authenticity of artworks through timestamps on transactions, a large problem with verification can be solved.
The current generation do not want to buy traditional art, but instead are looking at purchasing and investing in digital collectibles. It has even provided a new movement with bitcoin graffiti art becoming a new, growing art medium. Earlier this year, Christie’s sold a digital collage titled “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days”, for close to US$69 million. The piece is a “dematerialised work”, known as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). But with digital art, you do not actually own a physical piece of art. Nor do you own the copyright. And anyone can access the art piece online. So, what is the appeal of this new form of collection?
Art is inherently social. It sparks conversations and forms communities. Art pieces in your home convey your interests and tastes and can even speak to your political and personal viewpoints. Even with traditional art forms, wealthy art collectors meet in socialised situations for auctions, or other art sales. Conversations around owned and desired pieces has been a long-standing aspect of art collection. And that social aspect is no different when collecting digital art. Of course, there is also the hope that art will be a solid investment that will increase in value.
With blockchains, the way we buy, sell, and the support the arts is being revolutionised. New platforms are making it easier to buy shares in fine and high-end work, opening new opportunities to create more diversified art portfolios with minimised risk of full ownership. The cryptographic security enables Certificates of Origin and Letters of Provenance to be tamper-proof, bringing more transparency to the art market. While blockchains are still only just emerging in the art world, it’s sure to bring about ground-breaking, innovative forms of art dealership.