Can Blockchain Disrupt the Art Industry?

Transparency, security, immutability, scalability, and flexibility. The much-doted blockchain technology, has been known to bring all these properties to whichever field it has been incorporated in. Due to these beneficial qualities, blockchain has turned quite a few heads in every field there is. The potential usability of the revered technology seems to have no bounds, its applications are endless, catering to the ever-increasing demands of the progressive technological world. Amidst all the branches of industries that have been reaping the benefits of an immutable decentralized ledger, that one worthy of mentioning is the art industry. One might wonder, what benefits can technology bring to the art industry. To get an answer to that question, allow me to shed some light on this particular topic.

The rare and highly invaluable art pieces are the most vulnerable and the ones prone to forgery. The black market for the priceless creations is up there, making millions for forgers and criminals. The archaic practices of the verification of their authenticity are now obsolete. The forged goods look almost as good as the real thing. According to estimates, more than 50,000 pieces of artwork are stolen each year globally. As a result, the black market for stolen art is valued between $6 billion to $8 billion yearly.

The only way to tackle this particular problem is to track their provenance. Keeping the records of its origins and its previous owners locked up in an immutable distributed platform could be a pleasant solution to this problem. Some may still argue that there can still be human error and the data can be faked or corrupted. To that, it can only be said that the computers are just as good as humans can make them, unless they are capable of learning, meaning they have artificial intelligent protocols embedded into them.

To track the provenance of these art pieces there are platforms and art galleries that incorporate the use of IoT to hook up the art pieces with electronic chips that transform these physical assets into virtual assets and they become visible on the decentralized ledger, through which its whereabouts can be tracked by all the people connected to the network. This could additionally hold the owners’ discretionary information maintaining transparency.

The role of middlemen can also be essentially eliminated, enabling the talented newbies to sell their masterpieces without having to resort to auction houses or splitting their earnings. This could allot them sole ownership, and credit them adequately for their creativity. Centralized organizations mooching off of these fresh talents can be disabled from taking advantage of the newer rather inexperienced artists in the industry. The artists could make a sustainable income through a decentralized platform where they can gain traction for their work. Such a platform currently exists and was launched about a month ago by The Blockchain Art Collective. 

Art nowadays is not limited to paint splattered onto a canvas, it has evolved. And through its evolution, digital artwork came into being. Digital artwork is essentially digital media, it could be an image, a video or anything that can be displayed digitally. Like any other media, this artwork can be duplicated and sold, depriving the artists from making a living off of their contributions to the art world. Now blockchain can also provide a very amiable solution to this problem. First of all, data is unalterable and immutable, no change can be made and piracy can be prevented. Secondly, artists can monetize their content and make an income to keep up their work. Thirdly, blockchain not allowing their work to be duplicated can make sure limited versions or a sole version exists.

Christie, the centuries-old British Auction House also made the announcement that they would be recording the auction of an art collection using blockchain. The incorporation of blockchain-based technology into such a famous auction house may hint at the inevitability of blockchain-based platform gaining popularity with numerous other art galleries as well.

That being said, the uncertainty and lack of trust that is associated with a platform considered to be in the early stages of inception, may somewhat hinder its impact. The benefits that blockchain can bring to the art industry are indeed much needed. The sooner masses get themselves educated about the utility of blockchain, the sooner they will be able to deploy blockchain-based solutions and reap its countless benefits.

Hassaan Malik

Co-founder of BlockPublisher, Hassaan is a technologist at heart with a keen interest in blockchain, cryptos and traditional financial markets. Email: hassaan@blockpublisher.com, hassaanmalek@gmail.com

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