Art Investment

How our blockchain project is changing the art market’s infrastructure


Written by
Kim Randall-Stevens

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30 May 2018

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When people ask what inspired the Maecenas blockchain project, we always point them toward the current fine art market, which has stayed relatively unchanged for the past three centuries.

Despite the billions moving around the art market on a regular basis, one of the overriding visions people have is of the traditional, stuffy auction house with ultra-wealthy investors raising paddles in the air to secure a valuable piece of artwork.

Though most auction houses have updated their practices to introduce telephone and online bidding, the sad truth is that this image is still relatively accurate. The fine art industry still feels heavily pinned down by the dominance of old, established auction houses stuck in the past.

Though there is approximately $3 trillion of fine art in safe storage, $65 billion of it is traded on an annual basis through art dealers and auction houses. Many well-off individuals like to buy and keep hold of pieces to add to their investment portfolios and potentially grow their wealth.

Considering that both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have 80% of the secondary market volume alone, it indicates a closed shop to millions who would like to delve into the world of fine art and invest their money into a passion as well as a potentially lucrative financial opportunity.

Again though, buyers using Sotheby’s and Christie’s can be charged up to 25% commission, with sellers being charged even more. It really isn’t the ideal picture to paint for a market that deals with some of the most inventive and beautiful pieces of creativity the world has ever known.

So, what’s the best way for investors new to the market, or those who want to explore more options when it comes to fine art, to throw open the doors of opportunity away from auction houses? We believe that the Maecenas blockchain project could be the answer, and we are determined to bring the fine art market into the 21st century with our ground-breaking approach.

Download our Briefing Documents >


How our blockchain project will decentralise the fine art market

There are other problems that exist within the art market, too, beyond the financial aspect of entry.

There are key players within the art market who control information; there isn’t a single ‘art marketplace’ with a suitable price discovery mechanism, meaning that it’s almost impossible to know the fair value of a piece of art. There are no order books or exchanges, and historical information can be scarce throughout the whole fine art industry.

Again, a closed shop, with those who have access to it building strong portfolios of valuable, beautiful artworks and trading amongst each other. This is not the grand machination of any particular party, it is more the result of how the art market has evolved with many styles of art and expertise in its handling meaning a fragmented and hard to enter unless you have the connections and money. The best way to add value to this market and disrupt it for the wider good is to create a shared information market which increases participation for all

The Maecenas blockchain platform is looking to do just that, bringing together a passionate and knowledgeable team of fintech enthusiasts and fine art experts to open the market and allow millions of potential investors to secure shares of artworks that may have previously been beyond their financial reach.

The need for intermediary involvement will be removed entirely thanks to the Maecenas blockchain platform—connecting artists, collectors and investors together with the use of smart contracts. Our blockchain project will help to make transactions more open and transparent, providing better information and market liquidity.

The auction process doesn’t happen in the space of a few minutes with Maecenas. It happens over a predetermined time frame (of a few weeks) to allow everybody in the community to participate. We feel that Maecenas provides a fairer, more open and honest system which will open up the market to a wider audience, increasing the market’s perception and investors trust over time. It’s not only something that investors want. It’s something the wider fine art industry craves, too.

“Increasing investment in art market start-ups demonstrates continued confidence in the growth of the online art and technology industry.”

Deloitte Art & Finance Report 2016

We want to be one of the first to disrupt the fine art market with Maecenas. Our aim is to become the first place investors turn to when purchasing shares in the world’s most stunning pieces of art.

Find out more in our briefing documents.

Download our Briefing Documents >


Topics: Art Investment

Kim Randall-Stevens

Written by Kim Randall-Stevens

Kim Randall-Stevens was born in Hong Kong and grew up residing across the globe in South East Asia, Europe and the United States . She graduated with a masters degree from Inchbald School of Design and went on to manage David Gill Galleries, a leading contemporary art gallery in London before moving back to Asia in 2007 to continue her work in the arts. With her consulting & art advisory partnership, Kim brings a wealth of experience of 18 years in the world of contemporary and fine art. Based in Singapore, Kim works with collectors, advising and acquiring art for private collections and funds. Kim also consults closely with art galleries, artists and art fairs, advising on strategy and development, most recently, working with the Singapore Contemporary Art Show and the Asia Contemporary Art show in Hong Kong managing their exhibitor relations for the entire south east Asia region.

Please read the following disclaimer >

This blog post is illustrative and for informative and general education and discussion purposes only. It is not, and should not be regarded as “investment advice” or as a “recommendation” regarding a course of action, including without limitation as those terms are used in any applicable law or regulation. This information is provided with the understanding that with respect to the material provided herein (i) MAECENAS is not acting in a fiduciary or advisory capacity under any contract with you, or any applicable law or regulation, (ii) that you will make your own independent decision with respect to any course of action in connection herewith, as to whether such course of action is appropriate or proper based on your own judgment and your specific circumstances and objectives, (iii) that you are capable of understanding and assessing the merits of a course of action and evaluating investment risks independently.. MAECENAS does not purport to and does not, in any fashion, provide tax, accounting, actuarial, recordkeeping, legal, broker/dealer or any related services. You should consult your advisors with respect to these areas and any material with regards to investment decisions. You may not rely on the material contained herein. MAECENAS shall not have any liability for any damages of any kind whatsoever relating to this material. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the written permission of MAECENAS except for your internal and/or personal use. This material is being provided to you at no cost and any fees paid by you to MAECENAS are solely general educational purposes. All of the foregoing statements apply regardless of (i) whether you now currently or may in the future become a user of MAECENAS’s platform or products and (ii) the terms contained in any applicable contract between you and MAECENAS.

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