"Blockchain promises a possibly utopian
solution to issues of transparency, trust and governance in the digital age.
But the rise of interest in the blockchain closely tracks the development of an
ever more financialised world economy since the 2008 crash. So it was perhaps
only a matter of time before the art market got its own blockchain-based
trading platform. Last month, an outfit called Maecenas announced its new art
registry and trading platform – the first ‘decentralised art gallery’ -as well
as the first public offering of its new ‘token’, called ART. Not simply a
cryptocurrency, Maecenas touts itself as a blockchain platform that, according
to its creators, will ‘democratise access to fine art’. ‘For the first
time,’ the Maecenas website enthuses, ‘technology will allow investors,
collectors and owners to exchange shares in paintings and sculptures instantly,
akin to the way stocks of a company are traded today."