We know the headline may sound a little counterintuitive but do bear with us. Two of the things we care most about at ArtPro is openness and honesty. The pro in ArtPro is short for provenance; which in practical terms is a trail of documentation which supports the origins, ownership and authenticity of a piece. In the case of ArtPro, we will ensure provenance by leveraging blockchain technology to create an immutable, tamper-proof record of information supplied from verified and credible sources. Enough about us though.
It is in the spirit of openness and honesty that we want to spend some time introducing you to our competitors, many of whom are doing great work in their respective fields of expertise. All we ask in return is that you make it through to the end of the article because by then you will understand how our principles and business case overlap.
Our competitors fit into two main categories: traditional competitors and blockchain-based ones.
Auction Houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s are highly trusted organizations with a positive reputation built over centuries. They are a great option for the purchase of artwork at or above the $25,000 price range. Auction houses tend to charge high fees which are in line with their prestige and high standing. For this reason, auction houses are suitable for established artists and premium priced fine art, but not emerging artists.
Art Galleries also have a high standing and are slightly less expensive than auction houses, although they do still levy fees in keeping with their long-standing reputation and overheads. Sales are conducted predominantly on-site rather than on online as this is the primary focus of galleries. Galleries are most suited to localized sales for buyers who wish to physically acquire artwork. As a result, this model is not suitable for investors who have no desire to be responsible for custody.
Art Funds are ideal for individuals who wish to acquire pieces as an investment vehicle only. These funds typically require a minimum of $500,000 to participate and have a longer lock-in period, which makes them highly illiquid and off-limits to smaller investors. The fees collected by these funds are extremely high, and it is virtually impossible to negotiate an exit strategy in less than five years without incurring punitive charges. This makes art funds the ideal choice for wealthy, patient, long-term investors.
Blockchain-Based Art Marketplaces
There are a number of tokenized art platforms helping to drive the market towards a fairer and more transparent model — something we highly admire and completely support. Several of these platforms, once fully operational, will provide provenance as a service on the blockchain which ties them more closely to ArtPro than the traditional competitors we discussed. We think these projects have real merit and show the kind of fresh ideas and forward thinking which are coming to the art world right now.
Codex is creating a decentralized registry for art and collectables such as antique cars and jewellery. Similar to ArtPro, Codex seeks to solve the provenance problem by registering an artwork’s identity, the path of ownership and authentication documents on the blockchain while allowing the owner’s identity to remain secret — an important issue for large, wealthy collectors. Unlike ArtPro, Codex is targeting auction houses rather than owners and buyers directly.
Verisart, similarly to Codex, is creating a decentralized registry for art and collectables, providing blockchain-based provenance and targeting auction houses and art galleries. Verisart has worked with Ahmed Elgammal, a computer science professor at Rutgers University, to develop image recognition technology to add an “image hash” of the artwork to the authentication certificate, allowing for easy digital verification.
Maecenas is focused on the art investment market, creating an art registry and trading platform to essentially tokenize art, allowing users to invest in shares of fine art, akin to the way stocks of a company are traded today. Maecenas promises to feature several multimillion-dollar masterpieces on its platform and will also set up its own Freeport art vaults to store the works listed on its exchange. Effectively, Maecenas is creating a futures market for artworks where investors will be able to speculate on the future value of a Jeff Koons or a Gerhard Richter, trading blockchain provenance certificates without ever actually having physical ownership of the artwork. Maecenas is also planning to offers users financial services such as loans using the artwork they own as collateral.
Arteia is primarily targeting collectors by building a SaaS solution for collectors/artists, allowing them to catalogue, inventorize and manage their artworks/collectables. Its platform will also include a provenance solution, a peer to peer matching service/marketplace for authenticated works and a lending marketplace where owners of art can lend their verified artworks for exhibitions or events. Arteia will also have a marketplace that connects users to various service providers in the art market such as providers of insurance, transportation, storage, conservation and authentication.
Here’s Why We Just Showed You the Competition…
At the start of this piece, we spoke of two values we prize at ArtPro: openness and honesty. Having been completely open and honesty with you about our competitors, we also need to fulfil the promise of this piece, which was to explain WHY we’re telling yours about our competitors. It’s because, although each of them is doing something worthwhile and in some cases exciting and new, none of them is doing EXACTLY what we’re doing. In fact, we’re approaching this from a completely different mindset and will differentiate ourselves in a number of ways. So let’s put it all out on the table:
The ArtPro marketplace will differ from its competitors on account of the following factors:
● ArtPro is focused on an initial peer-to-peer target market of artists and buyers
● ArtPro aims to democratize art by lowering the barriers to entry for artists and collectors
● Through the creation of a diverse and well-stocked online marketplace, featuring art at various price points, plus the use of tools such as Augmented Reality, ArtPro is adding real-world utility, making it easier for the public to make the decision to acquire artwork that can be hung in their home and appreciated every day
● ArtPro nurtures emerging artists of merit, making it easier for talented creatives to get discovered, thereby fostering the next generation of artists
● Through the provision of detailed reports and investment guides, ArtPro aims to educate newcomers on the world of art, empowering them to make informed investment decisions, with the ArtPro Fund further facilitating this
● ArtPro arguably does more to disintermediate the art marketplace than any other platform, genuinely removing middlemen to connect artists and buyers, in keeping with the spirit of blockchain technology
To sum up, there are some great projects out there and we’re proud to be working in what is such a dynamic and exciting space. ArtPro will set itself apart by creating a peer-to-peer market and lowering the barriers to entering the art world. On close analysis, all of our ‘competitors’ have differing areas of focus so we really believe there is more than enough room for everyone. We understand there is often a benefit to collaborating to combine strengths, and we recognise those of our peers. Whether that happens or not, ArtPro would like to wish each of them the very best of success.
For more information visit https://art-pro.io/