Art forgery has been a persistent problem since the Renaissance. Blockchain art provenance is bringing art provenance to the digital age.
To determine the authenticity of a work of art, many art galleries and auction houses rely on provenance. Provenance is a ledger of transactions that shows how artwork switched hands from one owner to another, tracing it back to the artist.
Gallery bills, exhibition records, auction records, shipping labels or dealer stamps lead a paper trail from the art to its creator and prove it’s an original.
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to counterfeit provenance documents and sell fake artworks as originals.
Protect It With a Digital Token
The artist transfers the token to the new owner alongside the art piece, and the transaction is recorded on the blockchain. Each time it sells, the ownership change is recorded by adding a block with the sales data and timestamp on the blockchain. This way, every sale becomes a part of the permanent record.
Blockchain Art Provenance: A Better Way to Authenticate Art
Unlike paper provenance, blockchain art provenance is almost impossible to forge since blockchain is a decentralized technology.
When a change of ownership is registered on the blockchain, a network of computers validates the transaction data by solving complex mathematical algorithms. If one computer tries to tamper with these records, other computers in the network would recognize and reject the change.
You can access the record of transactions for every artwork by following the artwork’s blockchain URL. There you can see how many times an artwork changed hands and trace it back to the artist. If the token associated with the artwork you want to buy originates from the artist’s wallet, that’s proof that the artwork is authentic.
One-of-a-Kind Blockchain Collectibles
With the implementation of cryptography and non-fungible tokens (NFT), we inevitably arrive at the crypto collectible.
For example, CryptoKitties is not a cryptocurrency. Instead, it operates on Ethereum‘s blockchain, with each CryptoKitty being unique and owned by a user. Validated through the blockchain, its value can appreciate or depreciate based on the market.
You can’t replicate or transfer CryptoKitties without the user’s permission. However, users can buy, sell and breed CryptoKitties.
As of December 2, 2017, Genesis, the first and highest selling cat, was sold for 246.9255 ETH (~$117,712 USD on that day).
A non-fungible ERC-721 token represents each CryptoKitty, which allows each entity to have specific cattributes. The virtual cats can pass traits to their offspring, including pattern, mouth shape, base color, eye color and environment characteristics.
Based on the limited number of cats going into circulation and their limited genomes, users can breed a total of 4 billion cats.
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