“Tokenisation of assets is the most prominent and exciting use case of blockchain technology, and we’re proud to be pioneers in this space. This Warhol painting is the first of many more to come and we are looking forward to seeing and leading the financial revolution for the art market.”

This quote comes from the CEO of Maecenas, Marcelo Garcia Casil, whose company just successfully auctioned Andy Warhol’s painting “14 Small Electric Chairs” over the blockchain.

Art

Dadiani Fine Art in London’s upmarket Mayfair, through its luxury market place Dadiani Syndicate and in partnership with Maecenas Fine Art, put 49% of the Warhol work up for sale in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bidders eventually only purchased 31.5%, but these digital shares of the artwork collect dividends when the artwork is leased to galleries and museum. The artwork’s original owners will retain a 51 percent stake in the piece and will ensure its security and maintenance in a third-party facility.

This successful launch only opens the doors for more and more fine art to be tokenized, something we have talked about on Economic Gazette before. Not only is this another avenue for the wealthy to diversify assets, but it is at bottom a democratization of the art market as well.

“This auction was unchartered territory; a new model in an age-old market. The unprecedented demand, and speed with which the first fraction has been sold, has gone a long way to validating our vision of a more democratic and open art investment market.”

Maecenas is not the only blockchain company involved in his tokenization. Startup Masterworks and its affiliated entities have created the first art platform to allow the general public to invest in fine works of art. Here’s how it works: Masterworks purchases artwork they deem to be undervalued, and then offers qualified investors the opportunity to purchase shares in a specific work of art. Share ownership is maintained by a transfer agent and recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. The first painting to be broken down into securities is Andy Warhol’s “Colored Marilyn,” from a series of oil and silkscreen paintings completed by the artist between 1979-1986. Masterworks will offer 99,825 shares at a price of $20 each. The next painting in the pipeline, “Coup de Vent,” is by Claude Monet.

While this may seem esoteric, your many may be safer in a Monet than in gold.