Major Auction House to Use Blockchain Tech for Art Sales
Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, announces it will pilot encrypted registration of art transactions on a blockchain this fall, as part of a unique collaboration with Artory, a leading independent digital registry for the art market. In an industry first, each artwork from An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection sold at Christie’s this November will include a secure, encrypted certification of the sale for the successful bidder, providing a permanent digital record of relevant information about the artwork.
This announcement of the blockchain collaboration is timed to Christie’s upcoming West Coast tour of major artworks from the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, widely recognized as the most important privately-held collection of 20th Century American Art. It is estimated to exceed $300 million total at auction.
Christie’s will tour 13 paintings from the collection of more than 90 individual works to San Francisco and Los Angeles for public exhibitions.
The introduction of a blockchain encryption component to the collection sale reflects Barney Ebsworth’s own commitment to innovation in business, and his embrace of technology as a powerful tool to advance efficiency and improve the client experience.
Richard Entrup, Chief Information Officer at Christie’s commented: “Our pilot collaboration with Artory is a first among the major global auction houses, and reflects growing interest within our industry to explore the benefits of secure digital registry via blockchain technology. The entrepreneurial spirit of the Ebsworth family and their embrace of leading-edge technology makes Christie’s November sale of the Ebsworth Collection an ideal platform for our clients to experience this technology for themselves and to explore the advantages of having a secure encrypted record of information about their purchased artwork.”
Blockchain technology works by registering significant events that take place in the lifecycle of an artwork, such as a public exhibition or sale at auction. For the Christie’s collaboration with Artory, the Artory blockchain registry will securely record all public information regarding the sale of each lot in the Ebsworth Collection, including title, description, final price, and date, and produce a digital certificate of the transaction for Christie’s. After the auction, Christie’s will offer each buyer a registration card to access a secure encrypted record of information about their purchased artwork on the Artory Registry. Each buyer retains individual control of their personal information throughout the transaction process; Artory does not collect any personal information about buyers, and no personal information is recorded in their Registry or on the blockchain.