Galleries, dealers and other fine art market professionals play an integral part in the fine art Ledger’s mission to build THE distributed ledger for fine art.
In short, we cannot exist without art market professionals’ active involvement in our business model.
As collectors, we are fundamentally aware of the critical role that galleries and dealers, in particular, play for artists and art buyers alike.
As both fine art market gate keepers and facilitators, galleries and dealers insure that there is reliable and trust-worthy access to fine art, that quality and supply is properly regulated and that artists have a channel for curation and distribution of their works, essential not only to market access, but in market perception of their works and the development of their careers.
Building trust and a working relationship with galleries and dealers is fundamental to any collection. Beyond sources of introduction and information, collectors rely implicitly on galleries and dealers for the ‘authentic artifact’ in purchased works and for proving good title in those works. This applies whether fine art purchases are made in the primary or secondary markets. The role that, particularly, ‘primary’ dealers play in authenticating works, will be an integral role in the development of The Fine Art Ledger.
There is a certain level of comfort working within those tried and tested relationships, where we know that an edition is truly limited, and, on the primary side, that the artist has a career which is being curated and given the support it needs to mature. And a gallery or dealer who truly understands that collecting is more than just about a sale, ownership or aesthetic, being more relationship, sometimes lifelong or generational, not only with the work, but with its people, experiences and encounters, is an asset to any collector.
It is within this dynamic that The Fine Art Ledger works. Its fundamental ethos is making fine art more accessible to collectors. A key element of this is enhancing trust in art buying. Unfortunately, accounts of fakes and forgeries, mis-sold works and saturated supply are not uncommon. As collectors, information is key. Not any information, but information which is verifiable and independently supported.
This is where The Fine Art Ledger can help. We work in the blockchain, meaning that information stamped into our platform is not controlled by us or anyone else. The essential benefit of blockchain is its decentralized nature. Through replicating multiple copies of the same ledger in disparate databases controlled by disconnected or unrelated participants, and using a system of cryptographic signatures and public and private keys, blockchain insures that no single, or connected person can manipulate or control information stored on the ledger.
So while, traditionally, collectors rely on information produced, and controlled by a single gallery or dealer in their own, exclusively controlled ledgers, records stamped into the blockchain are not capable of manipulation by any one person alone. Information concerning the details of the work, its ownership and provenance have traditionally been sourced within the galleries own record and research, and authenticity usually confirmed in the form of letter or certificate of authenticity furnished by the gallery or dealer on sale. Aside from independent research or authentication, this is all a collector usually relies on.
By creating a decentralized repository of this information, The Fine Art Ledger intends to provide the foundation for making that information independently verifiable. Beyond a simple letter of authenticity, The Fine Art Ledger’s blockchain-generated letter of authenticity will keep a verifiable record of registered title, too, clearly, over time, providing reliable provenance for the work.
This shift from centrally controlled records, to a decentralized system, is a shift which art market professionals cannot safely ignore. It will become, no doubt, market standard, to have an independent, referenceable record of registered fine art title, provenance and authenticity. Fine art buyers will want to go beyond the gallery or dealers own records to reference purchases (both primary and secondary), and with this paradigm shift that blockchain technology brings, galleries and dealers who are not switched into this technology may be left behind.
This where The Fine Art Ledger steps in. We are building an easily accessible means for galleries, dealers and other fine art market professionals to cryptographically stamp their fine art inventory into the blockchain and, for each work, to generate blockchain authenticated letters of authenticity. With our platform, it will be as easy as filling in an online form, accessible from your account on thefineartledger.com. As we develop, this process will be further streamlined to cater to galleries and dealers needs.
On the right is a sample letter of authenticity issued on The Fine Art Ledger. Note that it goes beyond the manual gallery or dealer letters or certificates. Firstly, it includes title as registered on The Fine Art Ledger, and provenance. Also, see the cryptographic stamp which is unique to each work, and which verifies the blockchain entry for the work. Beyond the letter, each work which you have stamped into The Fine Art Ledger, is accessible in your account on the fineartledger.com where you can view existing letters of authenticity, each to be authenticated at the date of generation. These letters can be ‘white labeled’ for your business.
Once we are in Beta, we will invite select galleries and dealers to submit works to The Fine Art Ledger. Our aggregation of the platform will be a carefully curated process, as we work to insure the quality of the work submitted to The Fine Art Ledger.
So while we see galleries and dealers as indispensable to fine art collecting and our platform, we too will offer an indispensable service to them. We are not here to disintermediate fine art buying and selling. We are here to facilitate it, and to make it more accessible to all involved. We welcome galleries and dealers to reach out to us to see how we can enhance their relationships with their collectors.
Getting your inventory into the blockchain is now easy with The Fine Art Ledger. And, as with the fine art buying process in general, will open to a whole new world as we grow with you.
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