As blockchain technology evolves it just keeps disrupting industries. There is hardly an area that has been left uninfluenced by blockchain. That even includes the art world. Just as it did with finance when it put power into people’s hands, it has empowered artists to be in charge of their own destiny financially.
The days of the starving artist are pretty much over and the exploitation of artists seems to be coming to an end now too. Blockchain has changed the marketplace for the better as it is now booming. How it is created, bought, and sold is now totally different than it was before Bitcoin was invented.
Artists have long relied on patronage to make money from their art and the blockchain provides a more direct link to their patrons. There is also a lot more transparency with the blockchain which is essential in a robust art market. These are just a couple of ways that the blockchain has changed the art landscape. In this article, we will go over several other ways it has had an impact.
The art market has long been international in the sense that art can be created anywhere in the world and end up being sold very far from where it was made. Yet, in the past, this international market relied on some gatekeepers in the form, of brokers and auction houses.
There was not a middleman, but rather a series of middlemen that diluted how much money would go to the artist that created the piece to be able to get it to market.
Now, the blockchain has enabled global trade since the currency used is the same anywhere in the world and doesn’t even require a bank to make the purchase. For instance, you can buy Ether in Canada to then use to purchase pieces of art for sale in China. There are no exchange commissions to pay and the money goes directly to the artist or person that is selling the piece.
Now, you can be an artist anywhere and put your work up for sale without needing to go through too many barriers. Your art may only have fans in a certain culture or area but you don’t have to be there directly to make art for them that you can then sell.
One of the biggest problems in the art world is the fact that there is a lack of provenance when it comes to the original work. Fraud is rife with copycats trying to sell works that are not original. Documents can easily be forged to give the appearance of authenticity and have happened too often when it comes to famous works and artists.
Even lesser-known artists have their work stolen and passed off by others pretending to create the original material.
Since the blockchain is immutable, it serves as the ideal way to help prove that the intellectual property belongs to the right person. The way it works is that there are blocks that store all kinds of information. Usually, they are transactions, but in the case of the Ethereum blockchain, there are also smart contracts.
These blocks are encrypted so that the information within them cannot be changed. Any change would be seen immediately and would need to be verified. But since the blockchain is on millions of computers and not just one server, there would be nobody to verify the change. So, when an artist creates a piece and then creates the smart contract for it, it is a solid way to authenticate the work.
Another benefit is that since the blockchain in question will use tokens to reward the person that authenticates and verifies the block, there is an easy way to pay for the work at the point of authentication.
This is especially helpful for the burgeoning market for digital artwork. It was would be very easy for digital work to be shared or sold without the artist getting any credit or money for it. When it is on the blockchain, then the authenticity and ownership are transparent and immediately verified. This means that it is far more collectible as an art form than ever before.
Digital certificates can be issued in much the same way that they are used for things like diamonds to show every step of the process for provenance.
Own shares of artwork
Investing in artwork has long been solely for the rich and famous. Unless a person got lucky enough to find an unknown work of art by a famous artist by accident at a flea market, they were not likely to be able to buy any works of art worth anything.
That has changed now that the transparency issues with art are cleared up on the blockchain. It allows for people to break down the value of a piece into shares so you can buy a portion that is more affordable.
Once again, it is the immutability of the blockchain that allows this to be possible. Documents can’t be forged to take away somebody’s shares. And the piece can’t be sold without that transaction being registered so there is no way to lose out on the purchase if you own shares.
There is no middleman needed or central authority to authenticate your shares. If it is on the ledger then it is as good as gold. And it is a highly liquid investment as selling your shares is very easily done on the blockchain.
Art can be made on the blockchain
There are some platforms on the blockchain in which a little world is created and communities form. Much like the game Second Life, but this time using real money. In this world, you can open up a literal art gallery in which you can sell your digital artwork or other creations to an eager audience within the ecosphere of the game.
This is an unorthodox way to sell your art but it could only be possible on the blockchain.
*This article has been contributed on behalf of Paxful. However, the information provided herein is not and is not intended to be, investment, financial, or other advice.
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