Bearish on Blockchain: Executive Summary

blockchain technology concept. The chain lies on the keyboard

Bearish on Blockchain: Executive Summary

Bearish on Blockchain: Executive Summary 1024 683 Frank McDermott

The Art of Blockchain: Blockchain in Art

Tech adoption in the Art world— among galleries and art institutions— continues at a frenetic pace with a predominance of the focus and spending among gallerists going towards integrating Blockchain into the art sales process. 

Our expectation, however, is that it won’t have a prevalent impact on your business for at least another 10 to 20 years. For a blockchain product to truly provide security, privacy, and verifiable provenance will require the entire industry—and its clients—to adhere to one comprehensive digital standard, adopt a standard way to sell artwork, and disclose vital information (albeit encrypted) to some third party. 

Currently Blockchain-based products are almost entirely directed towards the needs of a select group of high-end art investors and venture capitalists, rather than almost all other collectors. While this certainly represents a portion of buyers, the material advantage of blockchain for actual collectors, as opposed to investors, is currently limited. 

If you have clients that think on the few hundred year timeframe for their investments, then you probably should do some reading/watching if you haven’t already:

(Warning: This video is a bit geeky, but it explains the core concepts well. While watching, if you replace “money” with “assets/ artwork,” and the “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” nodes with various types of art buyers and sellers, you will get a sense of how this applies to validating the transaction of buying and selling art.) 

Our strong recommendation is that our clients focus on the things that will provide nearer-term value to their business. If your focus is on emergent digital technologies, social media marketing, and digital viewing rooms that will help you sell more art, there are already market-ready solutions which will provide a more immediate ROI. 

Focus on what you do best—fill the world with great art, style, and taste—while the world of blockchains shakes out and develops. 

blockchain illustration

Why are we talking about Blockchain? 

The pervasion of digital technology in the art world has been growing and accelerating for many years. From new media, new materials, and new methods, the majority of the Art Industry has been cautious in adopting/investing in cutting edge solutions. Yet, artists and gallery owners now have access to a faster track towards evolution than ever before. 

As the industry turns towards modern best practices to incorporate into sales strategies, we have noticed that there is an enormous amount of talk about new technologies and how they can be applied to the art world. One of these, of course, is Blockchain. 

Blockchain is a beautiful implementation of a novel technology—one that shines when applied at enormous scale. As a means to verify and track transactions across time based upon complex contracts is, in theory, an advantage to addressing some of the Art industry’s key challenges. 

Specifically, there is a flurry of talk around privacy, provenance, security, and trust, and how products and services built using blockchain will promise solutions to address these concerns. 

Although we are huge fans of blockchain, as technologists who read this industry literature, we are finding more and more that the benefits of blockchain are being uniquely showcased. A lot of what is promised is theoretically viable – blockchains are trusted digital entities of complex contracts. However the limitations of real world application of blockchain, especially as it pertains to the Art industry, are mostly overlooked. 

Over the past 9 years, CARAVAN has worked with the most renown art institutions, artists, and galleries to help market some of the largest artists and art exhibitions in the world, and help sell millions of dollars of art and art merchandise online. 

We wanted to share our thoughts on the matter, and shed some light on the pros and cons of blockchain and how it pertains to the art industry. Although we don’t cover every single aspect of blockchain and all of the various ways it is being implemented, we feel there is enough here to better inform your opinion on the technology and how it pertains to your business. 

Ideally, you’ll be moved to get in touch and learn about how CARAVAN can help you help sell art online or on premise and promote your exhibitions and artists.

Caravan has worked with some of the largest art institutions in the world to sell millions of dollars of art and art merchandise online.

If you have any interest in topics or questions, reach out to us at:

If you want to check out the second installment in the series, check it out here: