The word Blockchain may make you scratch your heads. But this new type of technology, in essence, is rather simple. It has reshaped the world of art, finance, and health (to name a few) for the better.
What Is Blockchain?
A Blockchain is a type of online database that stores any transaction-related information in the form of cryptographically encoded ‘blocks’. It has been rightly described as a ‘public ledger’. Each block in this ‘chain’ has a unique ‘cryptographic hash’ of the previous block which solves the problem of double-spending. It also retains the integrity of each transaction and of each block. This further hinders any duplications or unlawful changes in the Blockchain.
This peer-to-peer network allows for a decentralized approach that democratizes the transactional process. The participants directly get transparency and control. The whole chain of transactions is verified by the users at every step of the chain, thanks to the unique cryptograph of each block. Blockchain technology, therefore, allows for the distribution of information without the illegal copying of it.
This ingenious method was proposed as far back as 1991 but gained widespread usage only in 2009. An individual or group going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto adapted it for the worldwide phenomena of ‘Bitcoin’.
The Advantages Of Blockchain
Blockchain is revolutionary because it sidesteps the need for intermediaries in any transactional process. Ameer Rosic at blockgeeks.com points out that a Blockchain carries no transaction cost. Rosic also gives the example of artists being able to directly sell their music to their consumers, without the meddling of distributors like Apple or Spotify. Thus, Blockchain technology can change the course of many businesses that run on claiming an intermediary fee.
Another big advantage of this technology lies in its philosophy of decentralized and transparent approach. Multiple ‘nodes’ or computers verify information, making it truly decentralized. The lack of a single server also minimizes the risk of hacking to a considerable extent. Its transparency makes data accessible for everyone which further boosts its integrity.
Art In Blockchain
Cryptoart is one such field where art and Blockchain have merged together wonderfully. Cryptoart is digital artwork which is considered as “rares” because of the unique online signature or ‘tokens’ given to them on the Blockchain. Digital art can be infinitely reproducible. A rarity in Cryptoart is therefore cultivated to create digital scarcity and provide them value similar to the physical ones. Their high price and rare nature are also because of their trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are themselves in limited numbers.
The benefits of this have been immense. First, it has brought about a new wave of the art movement. It is radical like the well-known Dadaism or Cubism before it. From the physical easel to the online one, Cryptoart has revolutionized the art world. The traditional notions of art are broken and questioned.
Second, it has brought the essence of vibrancy by creating an online space for artists from around the world. People from graphic design and digital illustration have chimed in to make Cryptoart a truly inclusive movement. The topics are also fun and creative like space itself. One such was based on the internet phenomena of ‘Memes’.
Third, it has given back power in the hands of the artist. Traditional skill-set doesn’t matter and everyone can join in. The artist can even sell their work anonymously or with pseudonyms without fear of judgment. Most importantly, as seen before, Blockchain removes the middle process of taking commissions from artists. It also gives them greater control over their future sales.
There are some precautions though. Karen Frances from Medium.com points out that the online space for artists can get quite competitive and one needs to be wary. Also, the rates of pieces sometimes explode and this fluctuation still awaits a solution.
Art Markets and Blockchain
Apart from digital art, Blockchain has also brought about profitable changes to the art market in general. “Digital Assets Revolution” as Tom Lyons from Julius Bär.com calls it, Blockchain has made it easier for collectors to buy shares in high-end artworks, without the risk of full ownership. It is a means for record-keeping and sharing cryptograph secure certificates of artworks. This has helped fight fraud in the art space. For example – In 2018, ‘Christie’s’, the British auction house, used Blockchain to register pieces of art and prepare a digital certificate.
Blockchain provides public access and constant verification. This, therefore, makes it an attractive system in the art world where otherwise the problems of forgery are rampant.
Yet some people are also skeptical of the utilitarian nature of this technology, which if over-dependent on, can take away the aesthetic value of art. In an article by Deccan Chronicle, Indian art advisors like Tejshree Savara comment that the Blockchain art market is at a very early age. She opines that even though it certainly protects forgeries of digital art, its use in protecting physical works is yet to be seen.
Nonetheless, the fact that Blockchain technology is at a primary stage in the art world makes it an exciting space to watch out for. Its most valuable contribution – the democratization of information, can lead to path-breaking innovation in Cryptoart and other sectors.
Follow Rajasthan Studio on Instagram for more amazing art and travel content. Reach out to us on email at contact[at]rajasthanstudio[dot]com. This blog is curated by Rajasthan Studio and written by Aryaki M.