Art & DesignBlockchainNFTsWeb 3.0Blockchain Application In The African Art Industry. 

Assoumpta IradukundaOctober 3, 202244915 min
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Blockchain has become one of the most important new technological innovations in recent memory – especially for economic transactions. It is being used to record transactions securely between individuals with no need for central supervision or a third party to verify them. In this article we shall explore the blockchain application in the African art industry.

Bitcoin was the first widely-known application of this technology, but since its inception blockchain has been used in many other applications. For more information on what blockchain is and how it operates, refer to our issue on understanding blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Top NFT
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The introduction of blockchain technology has had a major impact on the art industry across Africa, with the technology being used to store and validate artworks, provide provenance for artworks, and help to transfer artworks between owners. 

The use of blockchain to store artworks has the potential to provide a digital record of an artwork that is accessible by anyone with an internet connection, whether or not the artwork is currently displayed. 

This has the potential to change the way that art is viewed, appreciated, and valued by the audience. It has the potential to democratize access to art, which is often only accessible to those who have the means to purchase it.

According to Forbes, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.

NFT
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For some, NFTs are yielding millions. Nigerian NFT artist Osinachi recalls that in the early days before the idea of NFTs had taken off, limited edition prints of his work would sell for as little as $60. At the Christie’s auction in October, his work went for more than $68,000.

Why use Blockchain in the art industry?

There are many benefits of using blockchain technology in the art industry. Blockchain could be used to provide authentication regarding the authenticity of works of art and establish provenance by providing an immutable online record of each work’s purchase, sale, and history. 

This would lead to a more transparent marketplace where the public can be confident that a work was sold or not sold to them by the retailer or artist selling it and proof that it was sold by a reputable source rather than through an illegal transaction. 

Blockchain also has the potential to cut down on counterfeiting by making it easier to find and stop forgeries. It could help reduce art fraud, as well as increase security and make the processes of buying, selling, and authenticating art more efficient. 

Blockchain could also be used to establish trust between buyers and sellers in the art market. For example, blockchain technology would make it possible for a buyer of an artwork to have it checked before purchasing it.

This could prove beneficial in cases where a buyer is purchasing a piece at auction or through an online art marketplace that requires payment via wire transfer or money order.

With the help of blockchain, art buyers will be able to purchase works without having to wait for checks and confirmations from galleries or dealers about provenance.

Blockchain could also help artists connect with end-users more easily by giving them a way to verify that their pieces have been sold and by making it possible for them to sell their pieces in multiple locations without worrying about middlemen or fraudulent transactions taking place.

Concerns about the adoption of blockchain in the Art industry

Blockchain technology may provide some benefits to the art industry, including greater transparency and trust in the marketplace. However, before it can be used in an effective way, blockchain technology needs to be perfected and widely adopted by artists, collectors, and their intermediaries. 

Some challenges that we should note are that most artworks are immovable, which means that blockchain will be less effective for them. And since blockchain is relatively new, it may take some time for people to adopt this technology or figure out how to best use it for themselves.

Blockchain can also be somewhat complicated to comprehend and use because it is so different from what people are used to. And even if these problems were solved, it may be unclear who would pay for the cost of verifying artwork’s authenticity in an industry where profit margins are generally slim.

NFTs
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Blockchain technology may not replace the role of art authentication. It only works for some types of works, and there are many other factors like lack of scientific evidence that may play a more significant role in determining authenticity.

However, it may be used alongside other methods to create a strong and reliable system for authenticating the artwork.

Art market participants and experts have expressed concern about blockchain technology due to the perception that it will erode their current control over artworks.

They worry that a third party who has gained access to a centralized database could use it to steal or counterfeit works of art.

However, blockchain does not have access to any information regarding an artwork’s authenticity and has no ability to tamper with its data once entered into the network. The technology is only a tool, and blockchain itself cannot be used to fake or misappropriate artworks.

Art market participants who are concerned about the authentication of artworks may resist integrating blockchain into the art market because some of its benefits depend on the participation of a number of different market players.

For example, if dealers want to use their inventory as collateral for loans, then they need to be able to confirm that their artwork is indeed what they claim it is. However, if no dealers were aware of blockchain’s existence or did not have access to this technology, then they could not use it for this purpose.

In the long run, blockchain technology may be adopted by the art market. Many art galleries like Lagos-based Art X and auction houses are aware of blockchain and the benefits it may provide to them and their clients.

They may become interested in using it if they see that it is gaining popularity and helping the broader art market to grow. 

While the adoption of blockchain in the art industry might take time, many believe that blockchain has the potential to bring about positive change for buyers and sellers of art all over the continent.

The hope is that eventually, blockchain will help push the art market forward by making it easier for African artists to sell their work without some of the barriers currently standing in their way.

Assoumpta Iradukunda

An assertive protagonist, self-motivated and result-oriented with experience in community and youth engagement, pursuing knowledge and skills in Information Technology with a keen focus on African based digital solutions

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