In the past, people have been wary of using decentralized technology at a consumer level due to its nascency and association with volatile cryptocurrency markets. A few years in and we’re looking at a vastly different situation, with the adoption of blockchain technology by many large companies reassuring the public and aiding in getting them comfortable with the idea of mainstream adoption.
Can a distributed, decentralized public ledger change the art market dynamic and propel it forward? Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt opaque trade and give confidence to collectors who worry about forgery. Despite being in the early days, we have already seen an influx of use cases that upgrade the way we register works and trace provenance, verify authenticity and ownership, and create fractional ownership of art through tokenized shares, minimizing costs by bypassing traditional intermediaries.
Despite its many benefits, the use of blockchain technology is still seen by many as a foreign concept with various legal and logistical hurdles to overcome. For example, the information held on the blockchain is only as good as the information originally provided, which relies on the unlikely collaboration of a sector that traditionally values anonymity. That information - like all digital media - is at risk of hacking, with little to no regulation of its users.
Some companies provide certificates for ‘verified’ artworks which, after research, have proven to be worthless, leading to artworks being stolen regardless. Also, if specific art galleries, companies, or agents are hired to perform the verification process, provenance research could be monopolized by a select group with financial interests in the art market.
Adam Lindemann - influential collector and art dealer known for his longstanding commitment to investigating soaring trends in blockchain and technology, and organizer of the high profile The Art of Blockchains conference during Art Basel Miami in 2018 will be joined by Christina Steinbrecher, Founder of blockchain.art- a platform launching this autumn and Johann Koenig, Europe’s Top 10 most respected art dealers to discuss the promises and pitfalls of blockchain, the art world’s current appetite for crypto and the future potential of the blue-chip commercial art world on the blockchain.
It’s believed the art world will never be the same as it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. With the art world slowly moving into an era of digitization and online spaces, could the second half of 2020 see an uptick for blockchain adoption in the art market?