Jun 7, 2018

A London gallery is auctioning shares of a $5.6 million Warhol to bidders using bitcoin.

When British art dealer Eleesa Dadiani decided to sell a Warhol she owns, 14 Small Electric Chairs (1980), she wanted to make a splash: she would host an online auction and allow investors to buy shares of up to 49% of the painting on the blockchain, using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to pay. Dadiani is a crypto-evangelist who has been trying for years to get the art market on board with bitcoin, and she believes that when the Warhol is sold June 20 it will be the most expensive work to be offered this way to date, and potentially a game-changer. She told the Times of London that she sees the sale as part of “the big shift happening in consciousness, money and culture.”
“We’re making history,” said Marcelo García Casil, the chief executive of Maecenas, a blockchain marketplace that allows collectors to sell fractions of work to investors in order to finance buying another work. “This Warhol is the first artwork of many more to come.”
Maecenas is partnering with Dadiani’s gallery in London’s posh Mayfair neighborhood, and will offer certificates to any investor who decides to buy a piece of the work. After the offering, Dadiani will still own 51% of the Warhol, and will decide alongside the new investors where the work will go. Ideally, Dadiani said, she will “give it back to the public” by lending it to spaces around the world.