Since mid-2017, the art market, worth more than $60 billion, has seen an increase in Bitcoin as an alternative payment method to wire transfers. Despite the correction of the crypto market, the adoption of Bitcoin as the preferred currency for large transactions has significantly increased.
Art Galleries are Starting to Accept Bitcoin
In an interview with BBC, Eleesa Dadiani, owner of a major art gallery in London, said that more art distributors and brokerages are beginning to integrate cryptocurrencies because of their efficiency and ability to process transactions without the involvement of intermediaries.
Dadiani emphasized that the decision of her art gallery to accept Bitcoin was not driven by an increase in demand for cryptocurrencies or the exponential growth rate of the cryptocurrency market. Rather, Dadiani noted that it was an intuitive decision, given the trend of the global market, predicting that cryptocurrencies will be used like cash and credit cards in the near future.
She echoed the statement of China’s main public television network CCTV, which reported last month that the blockchain could be worth 10 times the value of the Internet:
“This is not a demand-driven decision at all, it’s intuitive based on the way things are going. Blockchain is a borderless, open source, decentralised peer-to-peer network that governments cannot shut down. For me, the blockchain is going to be the biggest thing since the internet,”
Previously, speaking to CNN, Dr. Garrick Hileman, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, said that Bitcoin can be considered an economic miracle because of its capability of processing payments in any size
More importantly, Hileman explained that in the world of art, where buyers usually are charged tens of thousands of dollars by banks to process multi-million dollar payments, Bitcoin has the potential to evolve into the preferred method of payment. He added:
“If you’re only paying a $2 transaction fee on a piece of art that’s worth tens of thousands, the fee is basically zero. But if you’re paying two or three percent on a piece of art of that value, then the numbers can go up quite a bit.”
Hileman also noted that the rapid increase in the user base of Bitcoin, a consensus currency that operates on a decentralized protocol, is monumental and could establish the first pathway for the natural progression from cash to digital money. He said:
“Many economists dismissed it as a flawed form of money, something that could never achieve the level of adoption that it has. Today we estimate 5 to 10 million unique active users of cryptocurrencies, and in my opinion, that’s nothing short of a minor economic miracle.”
Possibility of Bitcoin Disrupting the Art Market
Currently, the $60 billion art market is dominated by a few auction houses in the likes of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, which have controlled the market for several hundred years.
Marcelo Garcia Casil, the founder, and CEO of Maecenas – an online art auctioning platform for art collectors to sell high profile artworks worth more than a million dollars, said the progression from banks to cryptocurrencies will lead to the emergence of independent art brokers and galleries, competing against major auction houses and distributors.
Cover Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash