Guest Post was written by Sean Mortberg, an aspiring tech writer and a student at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky.
Blockchain technology is changing the landscape of yet another industry. The art world has always faced problems with theft and inauthenticity, and those problems only became more rampant with the rise of online image theft. Many cases of theft are not even the Hollywood heist-film type, with 64% of professional photographers’ work being stolen online and 72% of businesses using stolen artwork. Theft in the real world is still very much a problem, too. Interpol reports show that 51,000 works of art are registered as stolen and since 2004, the FBI has recovered $160 million of stolen artwork.
The standards that have made blockchain a trusted method of trade in other industries have a lot to offer the art industry. Private keys ensure the safe-keeping of a work’s provenance and, along with public timestamps and cryptographic hash values, prevent tampering or forging of records. The online art market is a becoming a staple for traders, valued at over $3.75 million in 2016.
There are growing applications of blockchain that address the myriad issues art investors and collectors face. Versiart and ascribe use blockchain technology to verify authenticity, generate digital certificates, and create and store records in databases that track trade history and origin. Applications such as Maecenas and Codex Protocol perform the role of art brokers without the middleman, allowing for decentralized and democratized trade and ownership of original pieces.
The merging of art and blockchain is building an online community of art enthusiasts and even artists themselves. The trading of collectibles promotes a social community that isn’t just in it for the money. Artists are creating and selling their own works using their own original currencies, such as Kevin Abosch’s IAMA coin.
Learn more about how art and blockchain are coming together with the infographic below, provided by Coincentral.