The World of Art, Crypto and Blockchain Gaining Momentum

September 28, 2018

The World of Art, Crypto and Blockchain Gaining Momentum

In recent weeks the love affair between art, cryptocurrency and blockchain is beginning to gain positive momentum in the news both internally within the art industry itself and overflowing into the mainstream press. Of course there will always be naysayers and traditionalists with slightly less enthusiasm as is always the case when new technologies find their way into more traditional industries – but even those less positive about the solutions new technologies afford the industry are beginning to notice there is a brighter long term future ahead for a more modern art industry.

One of the most significant events recently has been the successful tokenisation and subsequent sale at auction of a 31% stake in the Andy Warhol piece “14 Small Electric Chairs” by blockchain based art investment house Maecenas. The painting as a whole is worth $6 million USD, the sale of the 31% stake raising $1.7 million USD. The entire process was managed using Ethereum smart contracts – subsequently proving not only is it possible, it’s also profitable, and as a side benefit, attracted investors from beyond the usual pool of art buyers with some 800 registered bidders involved.

In a similar vein – UK artist Lincoln Townley hit the headlines after selling a substantial collection of works for cryptocurrency. Townley is well known through celebrity collectors of his works, including Al Pacino, Sting and Michael Caine. Michael Caine once described Townley as “the next Andy Warhol”. The sales were apparently conducted via social media using the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat – completely cutting out any gallery or auction fees in the process. Although the value and volume of transactions generated by the sales doesn’t appear to be published, the event has certainly generated significant interest from both the art world and new buyers/investors alike.

Next month will see what promises to be an extensive exhibition offering artwork for sale using any of the 8 major cryptocurrencies supported by the Uphold platform. The exhibition is being organised by The House of Fine Art (HOFA), starting initially at their London gallery venue from the 2nd of October, and subsequently opening on the 18th of October in Los Angeles at their West Hollywood gallery. Time of course will tell with respect to the levels of interest and sales volumes that take place however, the press coverage alone has been significant to say the least and undoubtedly raised interest in the concept of purchasing art with cryptocurrencies – despite the turbulent times in the cryptocurrency markets of late.





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