A blockchain company that deals in fine art will be selling part ownership of an Andy Warhol piece in late June, according to CoinTelegraph.
The company is called Maecenas. It is the “first open blockchain platform that democratises access to Fine Art”, according to its website.
The painting is called “14 Small Electric Chairs”. It is a two-metre high work depicting 14 facsimiles of an electric execution chair. It was completed in 1980 and has been exhibited in Zurich, Vienna, Hamburg, and Seoul. The piece was last sold at the Bonhams’ Contemporary Art sale in February 2016. It is worth $5.65 million, and the auction will accept a minimum of $4 million.
The auction will take place at a London art gallery called Dadioani Syndicate. Being sold is a 49 percent ownership stake in the piece. The accepted currencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the Maecanas token, ART.
Maecenas works by taking the financial values of works of art and representing them with tokens, meaning that shares in pieces of art can be purchased and sold. Ownership is represented by digital certificates.
The website details procedures for galleries, family offices, investors, and collectors.
Collectors can purchase art by selling percentages of items that they already own (“[the investor gets] the required funding by listing in Maecenas 20% of one of his flagship pieces of art.”).
Investors and family offices can invest in fine art for a much smaller fee than they would be charged by an auction house.
Galleries can raise funds for new pieces by listing the artwork of their investors for a fee.
The art gallery has been accepting cryptocurrency as payment since last year, according to the report, accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. For the Warhol auction, all participants will have to be compliant with and AML checks.
Marcelo Garcia Casil, CEO of Maecenas, said: “We’re making history. This event marks the first-ever artwork to be tokenised and to be sold using blockchain technology. ”
Eleesa Dadiani, the founder of Dadiani Syndicate, said: “You can now own a piece of history! This is not a divisive strategy but a win-win for all. Beyond this, Maecenas and Dadiani are launching the world’s largest and first tokenised art fund through the blockchain. This will simplify and expand art investment even further. Our shared vision is being implemented in the most exciting way – now we both look forward to embracing the resulting evolution of art investment.”