Innovation That Matters

Art gallery | Photo source Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Startup allows anyone to own a Picasso

Financial Services

A New York startup lets anyone invest and trade in great works of art

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Spotted: New York City startup, Masterworks, lets people invest in great works of art by securising artworks and using blockchain. The company buys artwork it believes will appreciate in value and then registers it with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investors can then buy shares in each artwork, just like they would buy shares in a public company.

Share ownership is recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. This makes the process more secure, efficient and transparent. Company founder Scott Lynn says that blockchain democratises art collecting, which has traditionally been off limits to most people because of high prices. With Masterworks, investors can spend as little as €18 a share to own part of a masterpiece.

The company’s inaugural offering is an investment in Andy Warhol’s 1 Colored Marilyn (Reversal Series), 1979, which the company bought for €1.6 million in November 2017. A minimum investment of €900 is required.

In the future, Masterworks plans to develop relationships with brokerage firms to make trading and sales easier. This could create a secondary market for the art shares.




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