A gallery in London is hosting the world’s first ever cryptocurrency art auction, selling shares in a painting by pop art pioneer Andy Warhol.
The auction launched on June 20th, and is a collaboration between art investment platform Maecenas and the gallery Dadiani Syndicate. Art lovers can get their hands on Warhol’s “14 Small Electric Chairs” (well, a portion of it, only 49% is for sale) using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and ART – a cryptocurrency made especially by Maecenas. The painting is worth $5.6 million, which is equivalent to roughly 850 bitcoin.
Sadly, as you’re only buying shares, you won’t be able to bring the painting home with you. The remaining 51% will still belong to the gallery’s owner, Eleesa Dadiani. Nevertheless, you’ll get a certificate saying you own part of a Warhol, and that’s pretty cool.
Maecenas says the platform is a way to continue “democratizing access to fine art,” adding that “anyone can own a Warhol.” Whereas Dadiani Syndicate is the first gallery in the UK to accept payment in cryptocurrency, with Eleesa known as “the Queen of Crypto.”
Marcelo Garcia Casil, the CEO of Maecenas, said: “We’re making history. This event marks the first-ever artwork to be tokenised and to be sold using blockchain technology. We are proud to be pioneers in this space – this is the result of many years of hard work.
“This Warhol is the first artwork of many more to come.”
The final auction cost will be determined by a “Smart Contract” on Ethereum, a platform with an established reputation for transparency on blockchain. The fall back price on the Warhol piece is $4 million, and all buyers will be inspected before the sale is approved.
Part of the Reversal series, “14 Small Electric Chairs” is one of Warhol’s best known pieces and has toured the globe. As the late artist got his start in advertising and was a huge fan of consumer culture, we imagine he would approve of the sale. After all, he’s quoted as saying: “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”