By embracing Bitcoin as a form of currency, the art world can create a lasting record of an item’s provenance. That is the key reason why Rayah Levy, founder and director of Mill Valley, CA-based fine art investment company ArteQuesta, has decided to embrace the digital currency.
Not controlled by any banks, governments, or corporations, Bitcoin is most commonly known as a global, decentralized, peer–to–peer currency which enables instant payments between any two parties around the world — with no transaction fees, no delays, no chargebacks, no censorship, and no security/privacy risks.
“Sending a Bitcoin payment is as quick and easy as sending an email and Bitcoin is accessible to everyone, regardless of age, race, country, or ﬁnancial status,” says Levy. “The momentum behind Bitcoin as a payment method continues to grow, with well-known companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Expedia, and Overstock.com all accepting Bitcoin payments on their websites.
“But the power of Bitcoin goes way beyond currency. The Bitcoin network is revolutionary in that it records every single transaction into a shared, public, immutable, fully transparent ledger called the Blockchain. The concept of a shared public ledger is a technological breakthrough that was not previously possible, and it opens up a world of possibilities that go far beyond instantaneous payments.”
Not only does ArtéQuesta accept Bitcoin for artwork purchases, but it will also be using the more advanced features of the Blockchain to track the provenance and sovereignty of artwork ownership.
“The biggest reason for ArtéQuesta’s interest in Bitcoin is the Blockchain technology powering the Bitcoin network,” says Levy. “The entire Bitcoin network works by recording every single Bitcoin transaction into the Blockchain, a public and unchangeable ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Traditionally, this ledger has been used for recording the transfer of payments from one party to another.
“But an extra feature of the Blockchain is that you can ‘attach’ encrypted documents into your Bitcoin transactions, and these attachments can never be altered or deleted. What this means is that the history of artwork ownership can now become fully transparent forever. In the art world, where proof of ownership is still a very contentious issue, the Blockchain is a revolutionary, exciting, and simple solution.”
ArtéQuesta plans to incorporate Bitcoin’s technology by using the Blockchain public ledger to track certiﬁcates of authenticity and market value purchases from buyer to buyer.
“Through this process, we will be able to signiﬁcantly decrease risk and increase safety for current and potential investors who choose to utilize it,” says Levy.