Cryptocurrency radicalising the face of art ownership

Fancy owning a stake in an Andy Warhol painting? A Georgian gallery owner known as the “Queen of Crypto” is offering you the chance.

Eleesa Dadiani is the owner of Dadiani Fine Art gallery in Mayfair, the first art gallery in the UK to sell high-end artworks in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum, litecoin and ripple. In a move which she says marks a “big shift happening in consciousness, money and culture”, Dadiani has announced that she will be auctioning Andy Warhol’s 1980 work ’14 Small Electric Chairs’ online on 20 June 2018 in cryptocurrencies.

The painting is to be auctioned in partnership with blockchain platform Maecenas Fine Art, which calls itself a “decentralised art gallery… that democratises access to Fine Art”. Buyers will be able to bid for a fraction of ownership in the artwork and will receive digital ownership certificates. Dadiani will retain a 51% share.

Maecenas chief executive, Marcelo García Casil, says the auction marks a watershed moment in global art market history. “This Warhol is the first artwork of many more to come”, he said.

Dadiani, who has also sold a fleet of Formula One cars worth £4 million to a Chinese buyer in cryptocurrency, says fractional art ownership transacted in crypto will change the nature of art buying and the identity of the art collector.

Things that are at the moment only available to the select few are quickly changing with blockchain”, Dadiani enthused. “The cryptocurrency will broaden the market, bringing a new type of buyer to art and luxury”.

Dadiani together with the other investors in Warhol’s painting will decide where to house the work. She envisages it travelling to different galleries internationally “to give it back to the public”.

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