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Christies' Inaugural Art+Tech Summit: Exploring Fine Art + Blockchain: What Was Said

So, the experts got together at Christies' St. James, London, headquarters at the height of the summer to ask whether the fine art world is ready for consensus.

Christies inaugural Art+Tech Summit on July 17th, brought together a range of established fine art panelists to discuss emerging concepts, applications and trends in the fine art blockchain space. Panelists included representatives from Christies, Bloomberg, KPMG, Deloitte, Artsy, Clifford Chance, Serpentine's Hans Ulrich Obrist and on the blockchain side, Consensys, Maecenas, Artory and others.

And even at the height of the Summer, the event was packed.

What is fascinating for us is that this Summit represents the beginnings of traditional fine art institutional acceptance of not only the opportunities that blockchain presents for fine art, but the inherent need for immutable title and authentication as an essential fine art market need.

While certain traditional players remain skeptical of the inherent need that blockchain represents, the underlying take away seems to be that even though the Summit was framed in question mark as to whether fine art is ready for consensus, the need and opportunities for fine art were well recognized.

It wasn't surprising that some of the skeptics came from traditional professional service industries, with Clifford Chance's Jonathan Kewley, remarking, "I think blockchain will help transform the art market,...Not a full facelift, but maybe some subtle Botox.", and the KPMG representative, as Christies reported, expressed caution as to " robust the system is"

But interestingly it was the traditional art market players who struck the essential chord here. As Christies noted:

"Only five per cent of the investments in the half-trillion-dollar blockchain industry are at present focused on the art market. Anne Bracegirdle, Christie’s photography specialist and an enthusiastic proponent of blockchain, underlined what an opportunity and challenge this nascent technology presents: ‘It’s thrilling that we are living and working during this technology’s infancy when we can shape its future and our standards. To integrate it into our businesses we must be able to see what this future might look like, and how we might collaborate."

Now that is what we like to hear. And we second this, being privileged to be here at the outset in this young industry. One thing, we believe, though, and this Summit bears this out: the change and reception needs to come from within the established industry and institutions. It is they who know the need and the opportunity for fine art and blockchain.

As a young start up in this space, being driven by a strong Collector need, we are proud to have contributed as a sponsor to this seminal event.


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