September 15, 2018 1:00 PM

The New York-based art collective has a system to register physical artwork and link it to a blockchain.

The Blockchain Art Collective (BAC) recently announced the launch of its “holistic blockchain-based system” – replete with a blockchain network, protocols, and its own Dapp – to catalog and secure fine art. The Dapp’s beta will be released later this month.

The blockchain-based system, powered by San Francisco technology company Chronicled Inc., involves near-field communication chips that are affixed to artists’ work. Each chip contains information about the respective artwork and links to a blockchain network, providing the piece with “an unforgeable, tamper-proof digital identity.”

The collective’s executive director, Jacqueline O’Neill, expressed her enthusiasm for the project:

“[W]hile many in the market are addressing provenance for digital art, we have not seen the same kind of turnkey solutions for physical artworks until now. The physical-digital link secured on both ends is truly a game-changer for artists and institutions. Now a physical artwork can have a single, trusted identity that stays with it for life.”

With the Dapp, art admirers will be able to scan pieces with their mobile phones to view the publicly cataloged information, which includes tidbits like title, artist, date of creation, medium, and region of origin.

Various artists – such as cryptograffiti, Nanu Berks, David Puck, RFX1, and Orvz1 – have signed up to use the system. Cryptograffiti said he was “excited to see the [art] space evolve.” He continued, “The BAC platform has the potential to combat one of the art world’s biggest problems, fraud, by establishing a physical link between the work and its authentication.”

Nanu Berks chimed in, noting that “[a]daptability and simple systems” like the BAC platform are important for carrying “art into the future.” She believes that, although the internal code structures of blockchain technology are important, these sorts of systems will not be widely adopted “unless there are several easy to implement solutions.”

The BAC intends to announce a roadmap for its collectible marketplace soon. The collective ultimately sees its platform’s ecosystem involving “governments, arts institutions, galleries, authenticators, and artists.” For now, though, the team “is pleased to see artists and art entities embracing the platform and welcoming in a new era for art.”

The intersection of blockchain technology and art continues to evolve. Not only are organizations, such as London’s House of Fine Art and the digital art platform Maecenas, working to digitize art ownership and sales – artists and groups have also been inspired by the technology to create art itself.

CryptoKitties, although primarily a collectibles-driven game, has made its presence known in the art realm. Many Kitty enthusiasts would say their cats are works of art themselves. Museums have been showcasing blockchain-related artwork, too. Maybe the BAC is right – we might be entering “a new era for art” powered by blockchain technology.

Daniel Putney is a full-time writer for ETHNews. He received his bachelor’s degree in English writing from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he also studied journalism and queer theory. In his free time, he writes poetry, plays the piano, and fangirls over fictional characters. He lives with his partner, three dogs, and two cats in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.

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