Salvator Mundi, Latin for “Savior of the World,” shattered expectations last year at auction when it brought in a record-setting $450.3 million. The long-lost painting by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is one of only a handful of paintings attributed to him. In 2005, the painting was sold for a mere $10,000. At the time, it was believed to be only a replica of the original.
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Art historians have since declared the painting an original da Vinci, but there remains much skepticism amongst experts whether it is in fact his work. Whether the painting is ever declared a replica or not, it still raises the question: how do we verify the authenticity of art?
Like many other industries at the moment, the art market could be yet another point of disruption for blockchain. And not just for art from the Renaissance age. Verifying the authenticity of artwork and debunking forgeries is a pain point for living artists, as well.
A growing adoption of token-based collectible assets
Tapinator, Inc. (OTCQB: TAPM), a developer of mobile games and apps, just announced BitPainting, a crypto collectibles platform for the global art market. Their new application is designed for art collectors and aficionados who want to own world-renowned paintings from famous artists. Tapinator is using the blockchain to accomplish this.
A key selling point of BitPainting is the verification of ownership. Each piece of artwork owned on BitPainting is a token stored on the Ethereum blockchain as a non-fungible (ERC-721) token. Tapinator builds specialized smART contracts to guarantee origin, ownership, and scarcity. These contracts not only guarantee the limited supply of art but give the owners the ability to create limited editions of their artworks.
“We believe the $45 billion art market is ripe for disruption by blockchain technology. We see a future where crypto collectibles drive art sales via digital scarcity and democratize the collection of physical, digital and virtual fine art,” says Ilya Nikolayev, Tapinator CEO.
“In fact, we have already witnessed significant early market adoption of crypto collectibles. Recently, CryptoKitties’ virtual cat, Celestial Cyber Dimension, sold for $140,000 via LiveAuctioneers and Kevin Abosch’s Forever Rose sold for $1 million via GIFTO. We believe Tapinator is well positioned to become a leader in the crypto collectibles market through the BitPainting platform.”
CryptoKitties, a similar blockchain-based crypto collectibles app, allows users to collect and breed digital feline friends. The same principles apply—each cat is a unique token owned by one person, it can’t be replicated, and it can only be traded by the owner. Recently, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors even received his own CryptoKitty.
All of these examples are part of a larger adoption of token-based collectible assets by the crypto community. Ethereum’s unique smart contract system makes it an ideal platform on which to develop these collectibles.
Even the photography community is getting involved by using blockchain to prove ownership of their original work. This is an industry that has been dealing in digital assets since the earliest digital cameras were released. Copyright has been a major problem for digital photographers over the years, but there now comes a solution to owning their original work.
A revolutionary change to the art market
Tapinator’s new application, BitPainting, is aiming to bring another community into the blockchain sphere—the fine art community. Some art enthusiasts make a career out of collecting art; others do it for sport, and some simply enjoy the beauty of each piece of artwork. This is the first time that the art community has a digital platform on which they can interact with art.
Many people who have an appreciation for fine art don’t have the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to trade it at the highest level. BitPainting is a way to decentralize the art market and put it in arm’s reach of millions of art enthusiasts.
BitPainting brings the feel of a video game to art collecting. Tapinator’s unique understanding of the space has given them the foresight to take an exclusive and sophisticated hobby like art collecting and digitize it.
“Bringing blockchain technology to bear in the digital asset space holds the promise to create entirely new platforms for value storage and exchange that traditional systems have failed to identify,” said Nikolayev.
Products like BitPainting are showing that there are values in cryptocurrencies aside from their monetary use cases. These are actual tokens being used to verify ownership of—in some cases—multi-million dollar assets. Owners will inevitably develop a vested interest in the tokens they are trading with.
Currently, Tapinator is directing traffic to a very important area. They are creating a new, exciting, non-intimidating way to interact with cryptocurrencies at a peak moment for blockchain.