NFT is looking for their place in the art world

Even with the reluctance around cryptocurrencies, NFT tries to attract classic art through low-cost sales.

Despite the smell of sulfur hanging over the cryptocurrency world, some investors and researchers are trying to introduce NFT – a digital token based on the same technology as cryptocurrencies – to the world of art galleries and museums. Almost cutting the painting into little squares, each linked to an NFT: this is what Artessere, a company created by Anaida Schneider, a former banker from Liechtenstein, has to offer.

Each NFT, a kind of electronic property certificate, sells for 100 to 200 euros, which, according to the latter, allows “Democratization of the Arts”. “Not everyone has $100,000, or a million, to invest. Hence the idea to create some kind of mutual fund. allows to invest in very real work, based on technology “block chain”, he told AFP. It “block chain”, or blockchains, are a kind of large digital registers that are shared among many users, without a central authority and are known to be tamper-proof. They were made famous by cryptocurrencies, which are based on this technology.

“We know what we are doing”

Artessere started last year and offers works by representatives of nonconformist Soviet art, such as Oleg Tselkov (1934-2021) and Shimon Okshteyn (1951-2020). According to Anaida Schneider, Artessere plans to keep the painting for a maximum of ten years before reselling it on the market. The added value will then be shared between the owners of the NFT painting.

But what happens if the work loses its value, or if it is destroyed? “We are insured”, said Schneider. As for the possible loss of value, “We didn’t think that would happen. We are experts. We know what we’re doing.” he says. The former banker denies that his goals are purely speculative, and ensures that his project fully respects the law on “block chain”, adopted by Liechtenstein in 2019.

The kingdom and tax haven was one of the first countries in the world to approve special laws to regulate activities based on this technology. According to a first-quarter survey by the Art+Tech Report website of more than 300 collectors, around 21% of them started buying NFTs which represent a small part of a work of art.

NFTs in the arts represent a cumulative value of about $2.8 billion by 2021, according to a report by French company NonFungible. However, the obscurity that still surrounds the rights attached to the NFT in relation to a work of art prevents public museums from exploiting the vein. In Italy, where the artistic heritage is huge, the Ministry of Culture has stated that it is suspending its project to create art-related NFTs, due to a lack of legal certainty.

Leonardo da Vinci digital digital

One company, Cinello, has signed a contract with an Italian museum to sell digital reproductions of their art treasures. But related NFTs are just options offered to buyers, Cinello underlined, wanting to stand out from the excitement around “non-exchangeable token”. Cinello sells a high-definition digital reproduction of the work, which is stored in an electronic box provided to the purchaser. The case connects to a masterpiece-sized display, surrounded by a handcrafted frame that reproduces the original frame.

Digital reproductions are protected by a coding system, and are provided with a certificate of authenticity which can, if necessary and if the purchaser requests it, be provided with an NFT. Cinello points out that he has digitized 200 works, including those of famous masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, and claims that his reproductions have earned 296,000 euros in revenue to an Italian partner museum.

In general, Cinello’s founder, computer engineer Francesco Losi, is still skeptical about the potential of NFT in the arts. “I’m not saying NFT will go away,” he told AFP, but many “wrong use”.

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