Artory is partnering with Winston Art Group, an art advisory and appraisal firm, to allow collectors to search for works of art already in their collection or to upload new works to Artory’s blockchain-secured registry and request certified registration of these works by Winston Art Group, free of charge. After the vetting process, the works of art will be registered with a third-party digital signature, and each owner is provided a digital certificate of ownership, at which point they will be able to communicate with Winston Art Group through Artory’s encrypted messaging system.
According to Nanne Dekking, the founder and chief executive of Artory, “we have had so many requests from collectors who love our blockchain technology, our neutral stance in the market” for vetting services that allow them to stay unknown as the owner, while proving the authenticity of a work.
“Artory believes in the importance of the transparency and accessibility of credible data to help grow the art market. The foundation of our product is to give visibility to third-party, independent expertise and secure these trusted data in the blockchain,” he adds. “This partnership lets us empower collectors without risking our data integrity and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
The partnership, revealed last Thursday in The Art Newspaper’s Art Market Eye newsletter, is Artory’s latest in a series of collaborations since it launched in 2016. Last November, the startup partnered with Christie’s New York to make the auction house’s high-profile sale of the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection the first auction to be recorded by blockchain technology. Earlier this year, the company acquired the subscription-only database Auction Club, which is home to sales information from 4,000 auction houses worldwide.
Many in the art trade are still circumspect of what the application of blockchain will ultimately amount to. For example, the integrity of Artory’s data is dependent on the quality of the data provided—something Dekking himself admitted at Christie’s 2018 Art and Tech Summit.
Elizabeth von Habsburg, the managing director of the Winston Art Group, notes that the adoption of blockchain technology to secure the transaction history of works of art is still in its early stages. “This makes it all the more important that… art market industry leaders work together to promote this important innovation in the art market,” she says.
Von Habsburg adds: “Winston Art Group is always proactively searching for new platforms that will aid in increased transparency and client confidence in art market transactions [and] the Artory platform is clearly a forerunner of the future.”
In its Series A round of funding in April, Artory netted $7.3m from investors, among them 2020 Ventures, a firm known for backing several fast-growing consumer-tech companies including Spotify, Postmates, and The RealReal.