Blockchain and Art Museums

Over the past few months, there has been so much buzz around blockchain technology - it really started with Bitcoin, and I was intrigued by the various ways that cryptocurrencies were being leveraged in the art market: Verisart authenticates art transactions using the bitcoin blockchain; Paddle8 recently merged with The Native, a Swiss technology company that will enable the online auction house to accept cryptocurrency payments; and Maecenas is building a global art blockchain market where users can buy digitized shares of valuable artworks.

But as I learned, the implications of blockchain technology are much broader - any industry that depends on transactions, financial or otherwise, stands to gain from it. 

 DMM.PLANETS Exhibition by teamLab in Odaiba, Japan

DMM.PLANETS Exhibition by teamLab in Odaiba, Japan

As I learned more about blockchain, I realized (and it was probably not a unique realization), that the technology could potentially serve a much larger purpose in the art world. It could revolutionize the systems that underpin large cultural organizations, especially art museums, in terms of operations, philanthropy, and inventory management. 

I explore all of these ideas in a recent post on LaPlaca Cohen's Culture Track platform:

Blockchain could solve some of the big problems that these institutions are increasingly facing, including the “digital dilemma” outlined in Culture Track ’17. With many cultural organizations grappling with “how exactly to integrate technology in authentic and innovative ways,” blockchain could have a meaningful impact on the operations and management of a museum, and perhaps bring more value in the long term than something superficial like digital labels in galleries.

I'm very curious to see how and if this technology continues to be adopted - in general, and in the art world. 

Natalie Lemle