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Chang Dai-chien’s Artwork Blockchained, Taiwanese Startup Adopts Blockchain to Tokenize Fine Art

A Taiwanese startup TokenBacon has recently put an artwork onto Ethereum blockchain, claiming the world’s first artwork uploaded to the Ethereum blockchain.

The startup is kicking off with a partnership with acclaimed painter Patrick Lee, whose best known artwork Time for a Drink collection will be tokenized on the Ethereum network and tradable for art lovers, according to local media Chinatimes.

In addition to Time for a Drink, the painting Red Leaves and Bird by Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-chien), one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists of the twentieth century, will also be block-chained for the first time by the firm in collaboration with the work’s collector. The firm will issue a limited supply of 100 copy prints of the masterpiece in the following days, with each featuring a unique stamp of authenticity.

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Red Leaves and Bird (红叶小鸟) by Chang Dai-chien (张大千) in 1974

The firm believes blockchain technology could have a full play in the art market for processes such as authentication verification, identification, information integration about creator and ownership, limited supplies of artwork, and transactions. In addition, the smart contract could separate the use right from the ownership of the artworks, or even tokenize it so that more art lovers could have a piece of the artwork; in the meanwhile, moving traditional artwork auctions onto blockchain would create more sale channels.

Regarding this initiative, the majority of domestic auction houses and art online retailers still hold a wait-and-see attitude. The largest local auctioneer Art Emperor commented that it is meant to adapt online art sales to those wealthy millennials who are well versed in cryptocurrency, the platform would bring in bitcoin payment or use of blockchain when the crypto market is mature and better regulated.

While in the global art market, the digital art revolution underpinned by blockchain is already taking place. In Oct 2017, Bit2Art.com launched a digital platform to store and trade fine arts in bitcoin; In early 2018, the online art auctioneer Paddle8 has partnered with a Swiss tech firm The Native to adopt blockchain for the authentication verification of artworks and cryptocurrency to increase transparency in markets; A crypto-artwork called the Forever Rose, produced by artist Kevin Abosch and GIFTO, was sold for $1million in the same year.

Two of the world’s largest auctioneers Sotheby’s and Christie’s are also considering adopting blockchain tech to make the art market more transparent and trustable.

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