Friday 8th June 2018 - Della Bentham
Shares of famous pieces of art could be sold via auction to investors using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Image: 14 Small Electric Chairs - Andy Warhol - Maecenas
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years, you will undoubtedly have heard of Bitcoin and/or blockchain.
You may have heard of people investing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, buying and selling with the hope of making profits. But now, the technology which underpins Bitcoin, could be used to help you own part of important pieces of art!
In the first transaction of its kind, a multi-million pound Andy Warhol masterpiece will be auctioned off for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, revolutionising the world of art ownership.
Blockchain is an online digital ledger. The technology is what is used to keep track of cryptocurrency purchases. Blockchain allows digital information to be distributed publicly but not copied. It was originally developed for Bitcoin transactions, the technology and its ingenuity was quickly recognised by many other industries who are now looking in to, or adopting the technology for their own purposes.
One such purpose could be helping people to own shares in iconic pieces of art.
The first piece of art to be offered at auction in this way is Andy Warhol's ‘Fourteen Small Electric Chairs’, which currently is valued at £4.2m!
The auction will take place on June 20th, investors will be bidding for digital certificates which they can purchase with cryptocurrencies. The winning bidders will then own a fraction of the artwork and this will be recorded on the blockchain.
This allows investors to buy a fraction of the iconic artwork, according to the blockchain platform Maecenas, "anyone can own a Warhol." But, is this really the case? Surely the point of buying artwork, is that it can be displayed and admired? While some people do buy art as an investment, they get to admire the pieces while they are in their ownership.
This new strategy will see people purchase a share of iconic pieces of art, which they can hold on to or resell as and when they see fit, but they will not be able to hang the art on their wall and admire it. According to Maecenas website, if there is enough interest they may implement an art leasing facility, where art lovers can temporarily hold the pieces of art for a fee. The proceeds will then be districuted to the shareholders as income.
Will this revolutionise art ownership? Maecenas say their aim is to democratise access to fine art. They have partnered with cryptocurrency broker Dadiani Syndicate to offer this auction.
"For the first time ever, high-value, blue-chip art works will be available for everybody to own – utilising the unique technology platform developed by Maecenas, you can now own a piece of history," said Eleesa Dadiani, founder of Dadiani Syndicate.
Marcelo Garcia Casil, CEO of Maecenas says: “We’re making history. This event marks the first-ever artwork to be tokenised and to be sold using blockchain technology. We are proud to be pioneers in this space – this is the result of many years of hard work,"
What do you think of this idea? Would you be happy to own a share of a Warhol? Will art investments be transformed, and does this have the potential to take off in the same way as cryptocurrency investments?