Can Blockchain Fuel Black Art Sales?

By Jonathan Etheart

  • $500 million spent on 100 paintings at New York art auctions in 2018
  • Blockchain is expected to handle up to $60 billion in transactions by 2024

There's been a recent spending spree on paintings by black artists highlighted with the sales of Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Flesh & Spirit" for $30.7 million and Kerry James Marshall's "Past Times", which was purchased by Diddy for $21.1 million. As art continues to be both a strong alternative investment option and increasingly popular for the black elite, can cryptocurrencies and Blockchain change the art landscape?

Why This Matters: Wealthy people all over the world continue to buy art as both showcases of their deep bank accounts and to diversify their investment portfolios.  While cash is still king, cyptocurrencies are becoming an increasingly more prevalent way to make purchases and blockchain is becoming the trusted ledger of record. 

As the black elite expands (think Diddy, Swizz Beatz, and Jay Z), what they’re putting their money into art collections they intend to pass on to their children. In order to stay ahead of the curve they will need to pay attention to the many art focused funds on the market and look to buy new pieces with cryptocurrencies. This may be a safer alternative for purchasing art because it ensures the transactions are tracked using blockchain technology.  It will be a way to prove undisputed ownership over generations and also provide an opportunity to even purchase digital art.  

Exactly how does this work?  Cryptocurrency creates scarcity and blockchain technology generates an official record. So as someone buys physical or digital art, the pieces will have certain digital "authentic" copies and everything will be tracked via the blockchain system. It ensures anyone can access the receipts and inventory of art a person owns digitally. 

Situational Awareness: As a new wave of financial technology starts to become mainstream, it’s important the current and future black elite pay attention to alternative ways to amass wealth. Blockchain technology as it relates to art is a good way to diversify investments and ultimately be part of the game as the economy evolves over the next decade.

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