How and why to hang artworks on the blockchain (infographic)

Posted: 17 May 2018 2:00 pm
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Forgery is a bigger problem than literally anyone knows. Blockchain presents a permanent solution.

The worlds of art and technology have been colliding for as long as either has existed, and it's probably no surprise that art and blockchain technology are combining as well.

Some of the more direct ties are individual artworks, such as TORCHED H34R7S by Marguerite deCourcelle, which coded an extraordinarily clever key into the painting itself, used to unlock about $50,000 worth of bitcoin. Other combinations are blockchain solutions that run around the outside of the industry as a whole, aiming to solve problems in the multi-trillion dollar arts and collectibles industry.

Blockchain might seem like an unlikely counterpart for the art world, but it might actually be a better counterpart than almost any other technology.

This is mostly because it's the first time anyone has been able to create an unreplicable, counterfeit-proof digital one-and-only. This function is how it can be used to create counterfeit-proof digital currencies, proof of ownership of creative works, truly rare digital collectibles, video game DRM solutions that actually work, and more. Anyone can copy bitcoin and create as many tokens as they want, but it will always be clear which are the originals and which are the imitations.

This is how there can definitively be only 21 million bitcoin in existence even though anyone can make more coins any time they want. It's also how there can now only be one of each artwork, even though anyone can make as many forgeries as they want.

By some estimates up to 40% of the big ticket artworks in circulation today are forgeries. Which ones are and aren't, and whether the originals even exist anymore, is simply an unsolvable mystery.

Take a look at some of the wider applications of blockchain technology in art, and some pretty pictures, with an infographic, kind courtesy of

It would be pretty ironic if someone plagiarised this infographic.

blockchain art infographic

Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC, NANO

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