The New Art Economy Is Here, And Artists Are Reaping The Benefits

Jacqueline O'Neill
Blockchain Art Collective
4 min readJul 26, 2018


Image by sashafolly

Chances are, you’ve talked to an artist on the phone, behind a bar counter, or in a meeting somewhere — and never been the wiser.

That’s because in today’s economy, only a tiny percentage of artists can survive on their creative work alone.

To make a living off their artwork and advance their career, an artist’s full-time job has to be creating new pieces and making connections in the industry.

And yet, it’s nearly impossible for a young, unknown artist to do so.

Without a steady source of income, an artist can’t afford to continue working on their art. Maybe they can’t afford materials. Or maybe the stress of continually telling their landlord they’ll have the rent next week begins to wear on them.

Whatever the case, it’s very common for artists to put their art on hold in order to get by.

So, they take administrative or service jobs. They try to leave work at work and focus on their art while they’re at home. But life gets in the way. They come home exhausted, lacking the creativity and physical effort necessary for their next project.

It’s a common story, and the core problem behind it has gone unaddressed for far too long.

But that’s no longer the case.

New technology and a shifting economy are giving artists more resources to support themselves while honing their talents.

Oddly enough, the lifestyle of poverty that many struggling artists are reduced to is glamorized as the life of the “starving artist.”

But there’s absolutely no reason why artists should have to suffer for their work. And our goal at the Blockchain Art Collective is to give artists back their time and their money so they can keep making art — without all the unnecessary suffering.

We’re confident we can start this revolution because of the ways new technology is changing how we perceive, track, and pay for art. Blockchain and IoT are bringing the notion of digital scarcity to real world assets, creating an environment where ownership of art is placed back in the hands of the artist.

A link between the physical and digital worlds is changing the dynamic between artists and their work.

Using blockchain technology, it’s now possible to create a link between a piece of physical art and a matching identity on blockchain, also known as a “digital twin.”

Though this may seem like a small step, it actually has massive implications for artists everywhere.

The process is relatively simple. A tiny chip is affixed to a painting or sculpture with a tamper-proof seal. To take it off would destroy the seal and the chip itself. When the chip is scanned with an app, it links to the digital identity of the artwork on blockchain.

That digital identity can include information about the artist and the work, along with more in-depth data about sales and worth.

There are three major benefits to registering your art and participating in this new economy.

1. First, no one can rip off your work.

If an artist advertises on their website that all their artwork is authenticated on a blockchain, it becomes very difficult for someone to create a forgery and pass it off as the real thing.

A piece without the cryptographic seal is clearly fake, as the artist has already attested to the fact that all his or her genuine pieces have seals attached to them.

2. It will improve your resale rights.

At the moment, an artist sells their artwork to a buyer for a specific sum of money. It’s great, but it also marks the end of any profit they see from that piece.

Because artwork can now be registered on a blockchain, it’s possible embed a royalty payment into all future sales. So, if a piece continues to appreciate in value and changes hands six or seven times, the artist isn’t left out of those transactions. Instead, each time the sale is registered on blockchain, they’re given a small percentage of the total sale price.

3. You can tokenize and monetize your work.

Essentially, this means artists can now offer fractional ownership in their artworks. And the possibilities here are incredibly exciting.

Say, an up-and-coming artist has trouble selling her work for $1,000. But with fractional ownership, she can offer ten shares of the work for $100 each. Or even 100 shares for $10 apiece. This allows people who may not be interested in purchasing an entire work to show their support through smaller purchases.

And these supporters wouldn’t be doing it simply out of the goodness of their hearts, either. Fractional ownership of an artwork can be treated as an investment. If the art appreciates in value and is sold, the investor would receive a percentage of the sale equivalent to the share they own.

In the meantime, the artist can liquidate the money they received for the shares in order to buy new supplies, pay rent, and generally keep themselves afloat as they continue working on their art.

Since the blockchain is still an emerging technology, artists can benefit simply by getting involved and learning about the opportunities available.

This technology has the potential to change the way artists work and live — and now is the time to begin learning and experimenting with new applications and ideas.

Thanks for reading!

Our team is excited to work with artists to digitize their artwork. To try it for yourself, get a starter kit and blockchain-based certificate of authenticity here.

You can also follow us on Instagram @blockchainartcollective.



Jacqueline O'Neill
Blockchain Art Collective

Creative Director /Producer / Mixed Media Artist ~ Prev. Founder of Blockchain Art Collective