Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is being adopted in the fintech, government, supply-chain, and in many other industries on a global scale. However, in the past few years, the world of fine art has been looking at blockchain as a method to ensure transparency and authenticity
Recently, The Art Newspaper reported that Artory, an art dealer registry, has secured $7.3 million in series “A” funding from Spotify.
One concern in the art community, is forgery and fake art. Fakes and forgeries are found in museums, galleries, and in private collections. Stories abound on the problem of forgeries and fake copies. Well over 50 percent of art is found to be fake. As reported by Art Daily, from 70 to 90 percent of the work analyzed by Fine Art Expert Institute (FAEI) turn out to be fake, says FAEI chief Yann Walther.
“Switzerland’s Fine Art Expert Institute has a solemn warning for collectors across the art market: buyer beware.”—Yann Walther
According to Walther, as noted in ArtNet News, say that his organization analyzes art for collectors and dealers. They may charge up to $19,000 to verify a painting’s authenticity, using a number of techniques such as X-rays, infrared scans, and radiocarbon dating.
It’s no wonder that art collectors are cautious and skeptical when buying art. In addition to having art analyzed by reputable labs such as Fine Arts Experts Institute (FAEI), collectors may now have increased confidence in the art they buy if the art has been registered with a registry agencies like Artory.
Artory is an art registry for buyers and sellers of fine art paintings. Founded in 2016 by Nanne Dekking, Artory has been developing blockchain technology for their registry.
View of Blockchain in Art
Artists and auctioneers have been studying blockchain technology for its application in addressing the confidence of buyers in art. Jason Baily of Art World, noted Anne Bracegirdle‘s, keynote address. She outlined six “key benefits of blockchain for the art world.”
These key attributes can all be achieved with blockchain technology.
- Simplified transactions
- Increased transparency
- Increased trust
- Increased security
- Sharable, immutable data
- Empowered users
Zohar Elhanani, Forbes, wrote that an area of consideration with blockchain, is the ability for it to broaden a market’s transparency, “track ownership and provenance, and provide an infrastructure for the tokenization of fractional artwork sales”.
.@ZoharElhanani wrote in @Forbes: "@ChristiesInc New York made art world history when it partnered with blockchain-secured registry Artory." Learn how Christie's registered each piece sold as part of the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection: https://t.co/tdhZNg0eDl
— Artory (@artorycom) May 31, 2019
News stories about the industry and blockchain are appearing in an increasing rate in media outlets. While the first application of blockchain started with Bitcoin, it has certainly moved to art. Forbes reports that a “conference about blockchain technology, placed emphasis on the art world, even concluding the event with a live auction.” Moreover, in 2018 Christie’s, a leading auction house, “held its first-ever Art+Tech Summit, dedicated to ‘Exploring Blockchain’. Speakers discussed technology’s positive and negative attributes, questioning if the art world was ready for blockchain, and if so, if it could have a meaningful impact.”
Jason Rosenstein stated in a recent article: “Blockchain technology allows for artists to distribute their work in a decentralized way, and to receive rewards without major entities taking them away. By taking away the intermediaries, artists will begin to feel more empowered and connected to their creations… We are approaching a creative economy where artists and buyers alike will participate in a mutually beneficial ecosystem of creative content.”
Given the nature of the internet and the ability of hackers to engage in illegal and nefarious activities in breaking code and into sensitive corporate databases, and a real concern of art collectors everywhere on the authenticity of fine art—blockchain appears to have a real case use in the world of art registries.
Artory found a problem in the art market, and has chosen blockchain technology as the solution for a transparent and secured art registry. Clearly, the market has responded favorably with Spotify voting with their own feet by anteing up $7.3 million with Artory.com.