For a long time the art world led by the big four auction houses, Bonhams, Sotheby’s, Phillips and Christie’s, has struggled with the provenance of the items they are buying and selling on behalf of collectors and owners.
Third party validation was needed, but many of the so-called appraisers are not independent and have vested interests.
So in 2016, ArtChain was formed. It is a platform that provides digital certificates for the pieces of art, establishing their history. Cointelegraph caught up with ArtChain founder Laurenzo Mefsut in London and asked him about the idea behind it.
Cointelegraph: When did you first come up with the concept for ArtChain?
Laurenzo Mefsut: I have long been aware of the difficulty the large auction houses have with identification and provenance of works or art and other valuable and precious artifacts and items.
ArtChain was formed to deliver both trust and certainty to an industry where an accurate historical picture of often very expensive pieces of art is difficult to obtain.
Cointelegraph: How does ArtChain deliver Trust?
Laurenzo Mefsut: ArtChain is essentially a MarketPlace for trading art that creates a digital certificate of the items (pieces of art) and a Proof of State, that is time and date stamped, and provides Proofs of Authentication, Ownership and Value.
ArtChain supports all participants - Buyer and Selling and the Auction House speeding up the process and delivering greater levels of assurance; where third party Appraisers who provide expertise relating to the intrinsic value are given a Reputational Score.
ArtCoin ICO planned
Cointelegraph: Will there be an ArtCoin?
Laurenzo Mefsut: Yes, ArtCoin is the token to support the exchange of value, and we will also issue ArtCoins as part of our ICO planned for second half of 2017.
ArtChain delivers anonymity for buyers who are concerned about theft and fraud. Blockchain guarantees the outcome of the exchange of value and Smart Contracts set the conditions and ensure the supporting information as provenance is complete and the digital certificate is recognized as the default position on the title of ownership, value and historic proofs at the point of sale.
Cointelegraph: How ArtChain is to transform the world of Art?
Laurenzo Mefsut: In many ways. Smart Contracts and ArtCoin will allow for the syndication of the ownership of assets in different ways, broadening the opportunity for people to invest in all aspects of Art they would not ordinarily have a chance to do. Making the exchange and trading of value through mortgages, derivatives and collateral faster and easier, lowering conveyancing costs, reducing risk on all sides through cutting off fraudulent behavior.
Reinventing the industry
It sounds like ArtChain will make an impact in 2017 and it is another example where Blockchain will reinvent an industry that has not really changed for decades; at a time where criminals are more sophisticated, where identifying fake or counterfeit items are harder to establish and where the location of valuable works of art remain vulnerable to theft…
Cointelegraph will touch base with Laurenzo later in 2017 to see how ArtChain and ArtCoin are making headway.