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Blockchain technology has made its way into various industries, and the art world is no exception. The use of blockchain in art has revolutionized the way artworks are authenticated, bought, and sold. From verifying the authenticity and provenance of artworks to creating new forms of digital art through non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain technology has had a significant impact on the art scene. In this article, we will explore the various applications of blockchain in the art world and how it is changing the way we perceive and interact with art.
Verifying Authenticity and Provenance
One of the key applications of blockchain in the art world is verifying the authenticity and provenance of artworks. According to a report by The Fine Arts Expert Institute (FAEI), more than half of the examined artworks were either forged or not attributed to the correct artist. This is where blockchain comes in.
Companies like Artory, Codex, and Verisart allow art to be registered on the blockchain. This registration includes details about the artwork, records of past sales, repairs, transport, exhibition history, appraisals, and image hashes. All this information is preserved on a single “block” that is secure and shareable. By tracking an artwork’s entire life cycle on the blockchain, buyers and sellers can verify its authenticity, origin, and history.
The Rise of NFTs
Blockchain technology has also given rise to a whole new generation of artists, art forms, collectors, and marketplaces through non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are unique digital assets that can represent ownership or proof of authenticity for digital artworks. Artists can tokenize their artworks, creating scarcity and selling them directly to consumers.
In 2021, the crypto art craze took the world by storm, with NFTs like CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, and Bored Ape NFTs being sold for significant amounts on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarity, and Solana. Blockchain technology enabled digital artists to authenticate their artworks and create a new market for digital art.
Art-Focused Blockchain Platforms
In addition to verifying authenticity and facilitating NFT sales, blockchain has inspired the creation of new platforms that give artists more control over their artworks. One such platform is Arcual, launched by Art Basel and MCH Group in collaboration with the Luma Foundation. Arcual provides smart contract solutions for creators and offers features like gallery royalties, custom payment terms, sales agreements, verified provenance, and digital certificates of authenticity.
Unlike other companies that utilize existing blockchains, Arcual was built specifically for the art world. It aims to decentralize the art ecosystem by inviting various art world entities to operate on its network. Currently offered in a beta phase to galleries, Art Basel Hong Kong will see several galleries showcasing Arcual-certified artworks.
The Art of Blockchain
Blockchain technology has also inspired new and innovative art forms. An example of this is Henry Chu’s Blockchain Piano, exhibited by Ora-Ora gallery at Art Basel Hong Kong. This digital art installation combines cryptocurrency with music, where each key press simultaneously buys cryptocurrency and turns the real-time market price into a musical note. The resulting melody represents market volatility, turning investment behavior into art.
Ora-Ora became the first gallery to exhibit NFT artworks at an Art Basel fair in 2021. However, Henrietta Tsui-Leung, the founder of Ora-Ora, believes that blockchain-based art still has a long way to go before it overtakes traditional and contemporary art forms. While blockchain has brought more attention to art in all its forms, it cannot replace the traditional art market.
In conclusion, blockchain technology has had a significant impact on the art world. It has provided a secure and transparent way to verify the authenticity and provenance of artworks. NFTs have revolutionized the digital art market, allowing artists to tokenize their works and sell them directly to consumers. Art-focused blockchain platforms like Arcual have given artists more control over their artworks. And innovative art forms like the Blockchain Piano have emerged, combining blockchain technology with artistic expression. Blockchain in art is an exciting and transformative development that is reshaping the way we create, experience, and value art.