Photo by Giorgio Lotti/Archivio Giorgio Lotti/Mondadori Portfolio via The Art Newspaper
Decentralizing a Masterpiece
About a week ago, the first ever blockchain auction was held online by Maecenas, a blockchain based art auction platform in UK. The original piece of Andy Warhol’s Small Electric Chairs was on the market and sold for 850 Bitcoin ( about 5,184,995.75 in USD as of June 28, 2018). The participants own “fractional ownership” of the painting with their BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrency.
© Maecenas – Andy Warhol, 14 Small Electric Chairs (1980)
It is not new to consider art as a long-term asset investment. Art pieces typically store a long-term value and prices tend to go up much higher at an auction event which is a reason why the market is being run by only a handful of people. The market is secluded and price disclosure is not required. It is challenging to measure potential value return or gain, unlike other forms of investment.
Maecenas aims to solve the chronic problem in the art auction world with the blockchain. The decentralized ownership model and establishing metrics for returns and gains with a blockchain ledger seem pretty promising. Of course, the platform will not be immune from the volatility of the crypto market but it definitely renders the possibility of of entering an art auction market.
On the website, Maecenas shared how auction transactions would work for different stake holders. Their White Paper is also available to download as well.
Keep your eyes on them, you might be able to own a portion of Monet’s painting next time?