American pop artist Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) poses with two of his works (of dancer Martha Graham) at an unspecified event, New York, New York, 1985. (Photo by DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
In the latest landmark for Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, a London art gallery will later this month auction a portion of Andy Warhol’s 1980 work “14 Small Electric Chairs” for cryptocurrencies.
Dadiani Fine Art in London’s upmarket Mayfair, through its luxury market place Dadiani Syndicate and in partnership with blockchain platform Maecenas Fine Art, will put 49% of the Warhol work up for sale in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum on June 20.
The piece is currently valued at $5.6 million — that’s about 730 Bitcoin. The reserve price for the piece is set at $4 million, and all buyers must comply with local regulation to prevent money laundering.
It’s far from the first time art has been bought with crypto — four paintings were bought with cryptocurrencies at Art Stage Singapore in January — but it may be the most high profile and for the most money.
Eleesa Dadiani, the founder of Dadiani Syndicate, said: “We aim to render the future of fine art investments to global reach. The cryptocurrency will broaden the market, bringing a new type of buyer to art and luxury.”
Dadiani, who has been called the Queen of Crypto, told the Times of London newspaper the world’s wealthy are looking for new ways to invest and “the millionaire is changing.”
Marcelo García Casil, the Maecenas chief executive, told the Times the sale would help transform the art market.
We’re making history. This Warhol is the first artwork of many more to come.
A smart contract running on the Ethereum blockchain will determine the final price for Warhol’s painting.
Many have suggested in recent years that blockchain could transform the art world — both through how art is valued and how it is sold.
At a recent cryptocurrency meet-up in London, Jess Houlgrave, the cofounder of blockchain identity company Codex Protocol, said that the number of fraudulent pieces of art on the market could be as high as 40%.
The blockchain — which creates an immutable, traceable record of every transaction, whether for art or Bitcoin — will make it easier for collectors to trace and verify pieces.
Meanwhile, Everledger — a startup working to reduce risk and fraud for banks, insurers and open marketplaces — is authenticating fine wine and diamonds via the blockchain.