A new trend in the world of fine arts is utilizing blockchain technology to decentralize art and make it more accessible to more people. One example of this is Maecenas , which refers to itself as “ a decentralized art gallery, democratizing access to fine art investment.”
One of Maecenas founders, Marcelo Garcia Casil, started out in the financial world. But as a techie, he saw that there was a demand to digitize assets. Casil began thinking how this could apply to art as well. Casil expressed his frustrations with the world of fine arts in a Medium article, saying:
“ We learned about the fine art market and how it was crippled by manipulation and monopolies; how it lacked transparency and how players struggled to even transact with each other.”
Named for the Roman patron of arts who aided destitute poets, Maecenas would help struggling artists connect with those looking to invest in fine art. Explaining how Maecenas actually work, the website explains how its exchange can help different types of investors.
Speaking directly of art galleries, the site states:
“Chelsea Gallery wants to acquire a $3m piece to expand its Warhol collection.
Instead of getting a 3-year art-secured loan at a 13.5% annual interest, it can raise funds from Maecenas investors by listing some of their artwork at a 6% one-off fee.
This represents a saving of over $400k in fees for the gallery.”
Giving another example of how Maecenas helps investors, the site says:
“James is a Modern Art collector who needs to finance the purchase of a new Jeff Koons sculpture worth $120k.
Instead of selling items from his collection, or getting an expensive loan, James gets the required funding by listing in Maecenas 20% of one of his flagship pieces of art.
James gets to keep his collection intact and can raise the needed capital at a much lower rate.”
In a review given on Crush Crypto Maecenas’ work is summed up by the following:
“On the platform, Maecenas divides artworks into fragments and users can invest and trade those shares. Users can now own a fragment of an artwork, whereas in the past they could not afford the whole painting or sculpture.
Users on the platform can also trade the shares between each other to create a liquid secondary market for those artworks. With Maecenas, artworks can be traded like stocks.”
Just as holders of cryptocurrency can own fragments of one full token, say one Bitcoin for example, so can investors own portions of artwork through Maecenas. And while each partial investor cannot hang the work of art in question in their homes, they do benefit. As Crush Crypto continues:
“Fractional owners cannot enjoy the artwork because it is not physically with the owners. However, there will be a leasing fee so that the investors are paid for use of the artwork in the gallery. The leasing fee is typically 2-3%, but it depends heavily on the type of artwork, the type of exhibition, etc.”
This means that if a gallery utilized Maecenas to save costs, someone owning only a small portion of the artwork is still earning interest on their initial investment. This means that all parties benefit. And, in a very tangible sense, it is creating wealth in new areas. More people have access to art investments and galleries are saving money acquiring new pieces, which allows them to lease even more works of art.
The entire platform functions with a coin called ART. Explaining how ART plays into Maecenas, Casil writes:
“These smart contracts that we’re creating, including the Dutch auction contract, require ART to operate. ART is like the fuel of the decentralized Maecenas machine. Any fiat or crypto amounts being invested through smart contracts are converted to ART first. Having our own token allows us to collect income from these smart contract activities.”
The world is changing and it is only a matter of time before blockchain is a part of almost every aspect of our lives. And by making out lives more decentralized than ever before, we are truly free to seek our own passions and pave our own way in life. Through blockchain, the road to individualism is secure.