With the huge surge in the value of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, crypto-assets are moving ever further into the realm of mainstream investments. While bitcoin is the best known crypto-asset, the platform on which it is hosted, Blockchain, can be used to embed all types of property, including real estate, and most recently, works of art such as those created by digital artist, Beeple (real name, Mike Winkelmann).
While such digital art could be dismissed as a craze, the increasing popularity and serious investment potential of other digital assets, coupled with the interest of the traditional art market, suggests that this is a form of art that may be here to stay. Even concerns regarding authenticity and the value of such art on the secondary market may be alleviated as a result of the permanent record of creation and ownership provided by blockchain technology.
Blockchain verification can be used for all forms of art – whether traditional or digital. Looking ahead, blockchain's potential to improve provenance could eventually lead to a downturn in ownership and title disputes, which is surely another reason for collectors to welcome the arrival of a Blockchain art market. The fact that it arrives at a time when the whole world has been forced to live their lives digitally, and to admire art online, seems likely to enhance its ease of acceptance by investors and enthusiasts alike.
The art market’s latest craze is for Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and this month Christie’s will be the first major auction house to offer a digital work in this format. NFTs essentially stamp the art on the blockchain and — for works made virtually — are proving appealing.