Art platform ArtChain Global has been launched to offer safe trading for art collectors, seller and buyers using blockchain technology to prove provenance, writes The Financial Review.
The Australian-based company founded by the former managing director of Citibank’s global funds business in Europe, Kay Sprague, and director of property development firm Pan Australia Investment, Cameron MacQueen, plans to launch later this year.
ArtChain says that it has signed up some of Australia’s best independent galleries art dealers and galleries, and is confident that forgery can become a thing of the past using new technologies such as blockchain to verify the origins and ownership of works of art, as Sprague explained:
“It will become a lot more investable as an asset class. If we can increase the participation through this platform, then we can more easily resell the artwork, people will be more encouraged to buy a piece, hold it, sell it and then buy another piece and create an increased demand for art.”
Art is increasingly turning to blockchain as an obvious choice in helping the track provenance. Verisart launched in 2015 and is reputedly the world’s leading platform which certifies and verifies artworks and collectibles using the Bitcoin blockchain. It was created with the original but somewhat obvious idea of using the immutability of blockchain to create certification to the fine art market.
Blockchain is becoming popular with artists too, as they feel that their work is protected by the technology’s clarity. Stephan Vogler, an artist and entrepreneur based in Germany, feels that blockchain can become an excellent foil against forgery or dubious claims by “artists”, suggesting that by placing a hash value of digital artwork on the blockchain, buyers can verify that the artwork has been licensed:
“Bitcoin offers a solution to this problem. Just like Bitcoin can replace banknotes, it can replace the piece of paper with the license text on it. I see great potential in Bitcoin and its technology.”
The new platform has already signed up one of Australia’s greatest living artists, landscape painter and Archibald Prize winner John Olsen OBE and raised AUS 6 million (USD 4.45 million) from private investors, of which 60% was from the art community. ArtChain decided against an ICO due to the unexpected surge of funds which MacQueen suggested would be enough “to keep the lights on”.
As the son of a renowned artist, Sydney gallery owner Tim Olsen immediately saw the benefits of how blockchain worked, particularly as he is in the process of compiling his father’s work, explaining that forgery had long been a massive concern in the art world.
“We live in a world where things are being reproduced and plagiarized in China, so having a central database like this becomes an extension of your intellectual property… This is able to give more substance to how the art world operates on the basis of provenance and authenticity being protected more readily. It’s a great thing that is ultimately an asset.”
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