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Christie’s Art Auction House Adopts Blockchain Technology

Christie’s art auction house has announced that they will be integrating blockchain technology into the auction of ‘An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection’ during November 2018, where they will be selling numerous pieces of art that are collectively worth USD 300 million. It is major news that Christie’s is going to be using blockchain, since they are perhaps the biggest art auction house in the world. In the first half of 2018 alone Christie’s auctioned USD 4.04 billion of art.

Christie’s will provide successful bidders with an encrypted certificate that includes relevant information about the artwork. The certificate will be immutable and stored on a blockchain and is provided via a partnership with Artory, which runs the Artory Registry — a blockchain powered database for artwork. All information about the lifecycle of an artwork, including past sales, valuations, and exhibitions will be in the database and accessible with the certificate. This certificate stored on the blockchain provides irrefutable proof of authenticity, which protects buyers and sellers, and can increase the value of the artwork. This is better than a typical bill of sale since the blockchain certificate for each artwork cannot be lost as it is immutably stored on a blockchain.

The Chief Information Officer at Christie’s, Richard Entrup, says “Our pilot collaboration with Artory is a first among the major global auction houses, and reflects growing interest within our industry to explore the benefits of secure digital registry via blockchain technology. The entrepreneurial spirit of the Ebsworth family and their embrace of leading-edge technology makes Christie’s November sale of the Ebsworth Collection an ideal platform for our clients to experience this technology for themselves and to explore the advantages of having a secure encrypted record of information about their purchased artwork”.

The CEO of Artory, Nanne Deking, says “We are delighted to work with Christie’s on this industry-leading collaboration. As long-standing participants and business leaders within the global art market, the Artory team innately understands the needs of today’s art collectors and the broader desire within the industry to embrace new technologies that will help the marketplace evolve. This November, Artory is pleased to work with Christie’s and the Ebsworth family to mark the start of a blockchain digital journey for each work in this spectacular collection, and to show the art world how digital encryption technology can benefit buyers and collectors in the future”.

Christie’s has a long history of setting the trend in the art world technology wise, being pioneers in online bidding, livestreaming auctions, mobile bidding registration, augmented reality apps, and now blockchain technology. Perhaps the rest of the art world will begin using blockchain technology in the near future for securely and immutably tracking and authenticating artwork.

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Art (r)evolution: Empowering Artists with Blockchain, Celebrating Bitcoin’s 10th Birthday

Crypto Culture

a BitcoinNews.com series

Part 2: Art (r)evolution in Paris showcases international Bitcoin-themed art

In the second installment of the Bitcoin News Crypto Culture Series, we look at Paris’s own cryptocurrency-themed art exhibition, Art (r)evolution, and speak with several of the artists involved.

Friday 5 October marks the final day of the cryptocurrency-themed art exhibition in Paris, Art (r)evolution, organized by French artist Pascal Boyart to celebrate Bitcoin’s tenth birthday. Bitcoin News caught up with him to see when he found himself involved in the space and how decentralization is becoming a powerful phenomenon in the art world.

”The art world is similar to the rest of the economy”

Pascal became familiar with Bitcoin in 2014. Once he came to understand the technology, he became a passionate follower and a proponent for the potential changes it can bring to society. He told Bitcoin News, ”It can change a lot because lives have become so controlled by central authorities. Decentralization is a big thing, and it can help to free us by taking back the control of our own money.”

”The art world is similar to the rest of the economy,” Pascal continued, saying that he sees it as an entity divided into two parts. One of these parts is disconnected from the real world and reserved for the international elite where ”art is just a pretext to play the Medicis without Michel Ange”, as he phrases it.

But the other part of the world is where he believes people can find passion and creativity, with not so much Medicis. One cannot flourish without the other, however, and that is where blockchain and cryptocurrencies find their place: ”We need to connect with both parts again, patrons and artists. That’s why taking back some power of the middlemen is good for creativity. Decentralized cryptocurrencies can bring some financial freedom for the artists who want to innovate. It can help artists to have a more direct relationship with the people who truly love art.”

 

Pascal’s artwork displayed at Art (r)evolution

 

Fighting populism and the FAANG

Josephine Bellini also showcased some of her crypto-themed artwork at Art (r)evolution.

She first became aware of Bitcoin while she was studying finance at college in 2014. The professor asked the students if any of them owned it and only a few foreign exchange students from China raised their hands. Intrigued, she followed up and did some research into the basics of this new phenomena. ”What really blew me away was the fact that no central entity controls Bitcoin and it is ‘controlled’ by the users,” she told Bitcoin News.

After trying unsuccessfully to purchase some Bitcoin for herself, Josephine took a step back from the market but the underlying ethos remained with her.

”Fast forward to early 2017 and my circle of friends had started talking about Ethereum non-stop,” she shared, saying it was at this time she made her first cryptocurrency purchase. ”That is pretty much when I dove head first into the crypto rabbit hole and discovered that blockchain/DLT had massive implications for our future and society.”

And with that sentiment, Bitcoin and blockchain can help usher in social change, fighting populism and the FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), as Josephine puts it. She sees the technology as enabling ”cheap trust”, a new form of economic institution that can replace those established forms prevalent when opening a bank account or obtaining a loan, which can also be abused by those in power.

She explained, “We are now able to take every function in the financial world and transform it into code that sits on a secure blockchain, thereby enabling cheap trust.”

In the art world

For artists, cryptocurrencies and blockchain may well prove to be an irreplaceable tool for taking back power. In particular, Josephine thinks that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will play a significant role in the art world. NFTs are digital tokens that represent ownership of a physical or digital item and can be used to represent anything from university degrees or housing deeds to pieces of art.  

Blockchain has a host of different use cases for artists. Josephine listed several of those she found most prominent for the technology: selling artwork on the international market, a decentralized, transparent “artnet” platform to sell work, buying part shares in art pieces, and tracking the history of artwork on the chain to minimize forgeries.

According to Josephine, when art is sold through galleries, the gallery will often take up to 50% of the payment, sometimes more: “Blockchain will eliminate the need of the middleman, allowing artists to reap the full extent of their work.”

thankful_for_today, by Josephine Bellini

 

Bitcoin in Josephine’s art

The foundation behind her art can be tracked to the cryptosphere: “All of my artwork is influenced by crypto and its ethos.”

Art is the way that she opens up the conversation with the audience, whether they are familiar with the topic or not. Speaking of one of her pieces, in particular, ”Filter” which depicts a woman wearing a gas mask lined with the Bitcoin white paper and shredded pieces of US dollars in the background, she says it makes her feel empowered; many can surely relate to that imagery.

Josephine explained her art to Bitcoin News: ”I have found the way to breathe in the truth while living in a corrupt society, I have found a way to control my own financial future… filter fiat into cryptoassets – cryptoassests that I own, and cannot be taken away from me. Viewers can and should create their own meaning of my artwork. Whether the viewers’ reaction be positive or negative, I hope to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question what we consider to be societal norms.”

 

To read more about the artwork and artists exhibiting at Art (r)evolution, information is available on their blog.

 

 

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Image Courtesy: Pascal Boyart, Josephine Bellini

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France Celebrates 10 Years of Bitcoin With National Art Exhibition

In celebration of Bitcoin’s upcoming tenth birthday, international artists have come together to offer a crypto-themed exhibition in France.

Thematically, the exhibition will explore how cryptocurrencies can inspire artists to look beyond the traditional social parameters that influence their work, including the banking system. The collaborating artists have been given the challenge to identify how Bitcoin changes the relationship between artist and audience, and identify how it can liberate creative expressions.

Artist and organizer Pascal Boyart said that the exhibition, Art (r)evolution, is a unique opportunity for creative minds to explore how exactly the emerging technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency may influence the art world. Artists were also given the mission to hide Bitcoin symbols within their work somewhere not easily visible to surprise buyers and attendees.

One of the most significant blockchain developments in the art community is the ability it gives creators and buyers to track and prove ownership over pieces of work. Event organizers have posted the question to participating artists, querying whether now it is possible to sell works independently without intermediaries, empowering the creators financially.

All of the showcased work will be available to purchase with some of the most prominent cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Monero.

Held in Paris, Boyart said this was a deliberate choice as the French capital has historically been the place for new artistic movements, and he believes it can become the key location for the crypto-art movement to blossom. He added,”The advent of cryptocurrencies is not just a monetary revolution, it’s also a cultural revolution.”

Boyart is well known in the cryptosphere thanks to a graffiti mural he painted that included a QR code connected to his Bitcoin wallet so people could make donations to him. His initiative reportedly earned him USD 1,000 from donors.

Other artists attending the event include Andy Bauch, Coin Artist, Nanu Berks, Yom de Saint Phalle, Ilies Issiakhem, Josephine Bellini, Yosh, Mark Bern, Choq and Youl.

The event is scheduled from 28 September to 5 October 2018 and is open to the public.

 

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‘World’s First’ Crypto Art Auction to Sell Andy Warhol Painting via Blockchain

Blockchain platform Maecenas announced Wednesday its plans to hold the “world’s first cryptocurrency art auction”, featuring a piece by famed artist Andy Warhol, as reported by Cointelegraph.

Crypto-friendly art auction

The auction will be held at UK fine art gallery Dadiani Syndicate on 20 June, with a 49% ownership stake of Andy Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs up for sale. The piece is part of Warhol’s 1980 Reversal series, currently valued at USD 5.6 million, with a reserve price set for the part-ownership at USD 4 million.

Digital certificates will be issued confirming part-ownership upon purchase via the Maecenas blockchain platform. The acquisition can be made with either Maecenas’s ART token, Bitcoin, or Ether. To make the purchase of Warhol’s piece, buyers must be fully KYC and AML compliant.

Maecenas offers immutable purchase history and ownership information, connecting investors and art dealers on the platform while running a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain for this particular piece.

Cryptocurrency is becoming an increasingly popular payment method for art investors. In 2017, the Dadiani gallery began accepting cryptocurrency payment methods, as did the luxury market alternative Dadiani Syndicate which accepts Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin.

Blockchain solutions

Blockchain can offer a practical solution to issues regarding copyright, ownership, and authenticity, problems faced in the art industry but certainly not restricted to it.

Sam Radocchia, co-founder of art blockchain authentification platform Chronicled described the main ambitions of the company as ”improving provenance and reducing art forgery“.

Registering art on the blockchain creates a cryptographic link between a physical work and the blockchain, meaning once it is registered, its identity can be automatically authenticated for potential buyers. This eliminates any forgeries or shady dealings from taking place.

There is also the added benefit of being able to monitor pieces of art while they are traveling. Blockchain has the potential to let buyers track the entire journey of their purchase on a mobile app, ensuring what they receive is true to what they paid for.

 

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Blood, Lambos, Earn Kevin Abosh $1M from Crypto Art

An artist’s desire to experiment with conceptual cryptocurrency art connected to elements of his physical body, including his own blood and luxury icon Lamborghinis, have made Kevin Abosch over USD 1 million.

Kevin Abosch is a conceptual artist and photographer that lives in New York and has been experimenting with cryptocurrency art. One of his artworks, Forever Rose, is considered the most valuable virtual artwork in history and the most expensive piece of art ever stored on a blockchain.

In January, he created 10 million IAMA Coin tokens using the Ethereum ERC-20 protocol, and had the desire to not just let these tokens be pieces of digital art, but to somehow connect them to his physical body. He accomplished this by drawing six vials of blood, and then stamping 100 blockchain addresses where the IAMA Coins reside onto 100 separate pieces of paper using his blood.

There is a notion in the cryptocurrency world that profits from Bitcoin’s colossal rise are being used to buy Lamborghinis, the popular and extremely expensive Italian sports car, and Kevin Abosch made a piece of art based on this. He created an ERC-20 token named YLAMBO, short for Yellow Lamborghini, and turned its blockchain address into a glowing yellow neon sculpture. The sculpture was purchased by Michael Jackson – former Skype COO and not the deceased singer – for USD 400,000.

The most expensive piece of cryptocurrency art that Kevin Abosch has created has no physical presence, but a digital ERC-20 token named Forever Rose. The Forever Rose token was purchased by 10 collectors who spent USD 100,000 of cryptocurrency each. Payments were made via IAMA Coins and GTO Coins on the GIFTO platform, which is a decentralized exchange of virtual gifts. Each collector received a tenth of the Forever Rose. All the money collected from the sale of Forever Rose was donated to CoderDojo, which teaches children programming for free.

His next project is tokenizing Manhattan; he has created a token for every street on the island and printed ERC-20 contract addresses on a 6-foot high map. Collectors will be able to send a few dollars of Ethereum to each address in order to purchase the associated token.

Abosch’s Yellow Lambo sculpture and a picture of an IAMA Coin address stamped with his blood can be viewed in this New York Times article. He is planning on continuing his experimentation with cryptocurrency art.

 

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Art Auction Sells CryptoKitty For $140,000 in Ether

A CryptoKitty was sold for USD 140,000 (203.41 Ethereum) at the first Codex Protocol art auction during the 2018 Ethereal Summit. The ‘Celestial Cyber Dimension’ CryptoKitty is the most expensive in history, outpacing one which sold for USD 117,000 in December 2017.

CryptoKitties is an online game that is built off the Ethereum blockchain, currently the second most popular cryptocurrency and the basis of many decentralized applications because of its integrated smart contract technology.

Users can buy CryptoKitties in exchange for Ether, often for as little as USD 5 worth but obviously sometimes much higher as was the case during the Codex Protocol art auction. The cats have a unique 256-bit genome with DNA and ‘cattributes’, and these can be bred with each other to produce new types of cats. One of the main goals of the game is to breed rare specialized fancy cats which are far more valuable.

There is a digital marketplace where CryptoKitties can be bought and sold for Ether, so it is actually possible to make money playing the game if you have a knack for breeding highly sought after CryptoKitties. Each is a digital asset and has a non-fungible token corresponding to it on the Ethereum blockchain. The fact that they are stored in the blockchain makes CryptoKitties cryptographically secure, and makes it simple to prove authenticity and ownership via a private key.

The featured digital art item was created by art director Guilherme Twardowski aka Guile Gaspar. He showed off the picture of it, a grey-colored cat with a glowing purple and blue orb on its neck, on Twitter.

Celestial Cyber Dimension is on display at @ChristiesInc fur the @CodexProtocol #EtherealNY charity art sale. The live auction starts tomorrow. https://t.co/jkhtKtjsb2 pic.twitter.com/GPX3lAuKEO

— CryptoKitties (谜恋猫) (@CryptoKitties) May 12, 2018

It has a corresponding physical statuette which was given over to the winning bidder after payment. This statuette contains the private key and has a pixelated display showing the CryptoKitty. This is the first time an official physical statue has been made for a CryptoKitty.

The winner of the auction, Igor Barinov, says he spent so much money on this CryptoKitty because he loved the game, he liked the cat’s attributes, he enjoyed the real-life nature of this auction versus the typical digital auctions on the CryptoKitties websites, and he knew it was all going to charity.

 

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