Fine art has gained another way to be appreciated with Masterworks and Ethereum’s blockchain offering collectors a whole new option: sharing.
With only 1% of the population being in the income bracket able to own a da Vinci or a Picasso, or unless the buyer has a spare USD 450 million in small change, about the price that da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi fetched at New York Christie’s last year, fine art is largely out of reach for most.
Enter blockchain, opening up a whole new landscape of its own when it comes to the world of fine art, thanks to the likes of Masterworks, Maecenas, CoArt and other such companies in a growing sector which offers the opportunity to utilize new technology to offer accessibility to the not-so-rich collector.
Masterworks continued the trend earlier this year when it announced its blockchain-based scheme to develop a platform where investors could grab a share of a Warhol by purchasing tokens. Maecenas offers blockchain certificates with its ART token to facilitate easy exchange of certification. Falsification is impossible due to the protection of provenance information courtesy of cryptography.
Another platform, CoArt, tokenizes its pieces enabling part ownership of expensive pieces, such as Pablo Picasso’s Buste de Mousquetaire in which the purchase was shared by 25,000 investors earlier this year.
So, is this the future of valuable fine art ownership? Masterworks marketing VP Richard McBeath thinks that it may well be, suggesting, “It might not be about disruption, but it could very well become the standard in the art world… It’s about bringing in investors that have no real access to the world… [with] our model, there is also little chance of “centralization” as one investor can only hold 10% of an artwork.”
The point of decentralization is all about offering the world’s population the opportunity, rich or poor, of being connected to the global economy, whether it be growing cocoa beans in Ghana or harvesting rice in Taiwan and following its progress on the supply chain. Why should the appreciation of fine art through part ownership be that different? In this way, blockchain is becoming a powerful tool in democratizing markets, whether they be food, real estate or art.
A USD 20 token share in a Warhol can do just that.
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