NFTs in the art world are worth nearly $2.8 billion in cumulative value by 2021, according to a tally by NonFungible.
Despite the smell of sulfur hanging over the world of cryptocurrencies, some investors and experimenters are trying to introduce NFTs – digital tokens based on the same technology as cryptocurrencies – in the world of art galleries and museums.
Almost a painting is cut into small squares, each associated with a NFT: this is what Artessere offers, a company created by Anaida Schneider, a former banker from Liechtenstein. Each NFT, a type of electronic property certificate, is sold for 100 to 200 euros, which allows, according to the latter, the “democratization of art”.
“Not everyone has 100,000 dollars, or a million, to invest. So this idea of creating a kind of mutual fund” to invest in a real work, based on “blockchain” technology, he told AFP .
“Blockchains”, or chains of blocks, are types of large digital registers shared between many users, without a central authority and considered unverifiable. They are famous for cryptocurrencies, which are based on this technology.
Artessere started last year and offers works by representatives of nonconformist Soviet art, such as Oleg Tselkov (1934 – 2021) and Shimon Okshteyn (1951-2020).
And if “work loses value?”
According to Anaida Schneider, Artessere plans to keep the paintings for a maximum of ten years before reselling them on the market. The additional value will be shared by NFT owners in the drawings. But what happens if the work loses its value, or if it is damaged?
“We’re insured,” Schneider said. As for the possible loss of value, “we don’t think it’s going to happen. We’re experts. We know what we’re doing,” he said.
The former banker denied that his goal was purely speculative, and assured that his project fully respects the “blockchain” law, adopted by Liechtenstein in 2019. regulating activities based on this technology. According to a survey in the first quarter of the website Art+Tech Report of more than 300 collectors, about 21% of them started buying NFTs that represent a fragment of an artwork.
Costs $2.8 billion
NFTs in the world of art represent a cumulative value of almost $ 2.8 billion in 2021, according to a report by the French company NonFungible. However, the ambiguity surrounding the rights attached to an NFT linked to a work of art prevents public museums from exploiting the root. In Italy, where the artistic heritage is so great, the Ministry of Culture has announced the suspension of its projects to create NFTs linked to works of art, due to the lack of legal certainty.
One company, Cinello, has signed contracts with Italian museums to sell digital copies of their art treasures.
Cinello sells a high-definition digital reproduction of the work, which comes in an electronic box provided by the buyer. This box is connected to a screen with the dimensions of the work, surrounded by a handmade frame that reproduces the original frame. The digital reproduction is protected by a code system, and is given a certificate of authenticity that can, if necessary and if the buyer requests it, be added to a NFT.
Cinello indicated that it had already digitized 200 works, including famous masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, and claimed that its reproductions had already generated 296,000 euros in revenue for affiliated museums in Italy.
In general, the founder of Cinello, computer engineer Francesco Losi, is still skeptical about the potential of NFTs in the field of art.
“I’m not saying NFTs are going away,” he told AFP, but many are “being misused”.