Blockchain based art registries can give artists unprecedented control

24 Jun, 2018
by Arthur Sillers
Blockchain based art registries can give artists unprecedented control

Blockchain technology is most visible in its adoption for commercial use, but many are noting its applicability to the art world.

Jacqueline O'Neill, the Executive Director at Ethereum Art Collective, took to Quora to note that blockchain technology is able to give artists an unprecedented control over their resale rights. Visual artists in particular among creative professionals have severely diminished control over their work once published.

In other creative fields, like music and text publishing, resale rights exist to give an original author a percentage of the sale each time a work is purchased. Blockchain technology could introduce ways in which visual artists can secure royalty and resale rights through embedded payments.

 For example, Codex Protocol, in Coin Announcer, wrote that it is producing an infrastructure using blockchain technology which could function as decentralized registry for artistic works. Codex Protocol notes that not only does this benefit artists, but the use of a digital registry allows collectors piece of mind that their collection is fully authentic, an effective anti-counterfeit measure.

Another digital art registry called All Public Art, notes that after an artist sells a piece of work, they have a limited amount of knowledge about its subsequent movement. Blockchain technology can give an artist the benefit of access to public ledgers which track their work, and keep them aware of the life-cycle of their art, and their developing provenance.

While these blockchain registries are most clearly applicable to digital work, so called crypto seals, such as the one developed by Chronicled, allow the use of blockchain technology to track physical work as well. A crypto seal is a computer chip with cryptographic identity which can be physically adhered to a real object. This gives physical objects an additional digital identity, meaning they can be tracked by blockchain technology as well.

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