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Tag: authenticity

Could Blockchain Technology Help Prevent Art Market Fraud?

Recent years have seen some of the biggest art forgeries of the 20th century, including a $79.6 million Austrian case of forged certificates and replicas by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet.

According to the FBI’s art crime unit, art frauds, forgeries and fakes total $6 billion annually.

In an industry plagued by authenticity and traceability issues, could Blockchain technology be the solution to bringing transparency to the art market?

Essentially a cloud-based digital ledger, Blockchain offers a secure means of digitizing authentication, provenance and ownership history.

Artists would register their work into the Blockchain to create a digital certificate of authenticity. Through a unique cryptographic ID, each artwork can be authenticated and ownership rights securely transferred to galleries or collectors. Once a transaction is verified, the Blockchain ledger is updated and cannot be removed or altered.

This “distributed registry of authenticity” offers a significant upgrade from the current system and incredible potential to easily prove authenticity, ownership and transactions.


Blockchain can help to make fine art accessible for everyone. Traditionally, artists have relied on galleries for distribution. Blockchain could eliminate such intermediaries and connect artists directly to a broader audience through an online market.

Proving Provenance and Authenticity

Standard paper-based transaction records are unsecured and prone to inaccuracies, omissions and forgery.

When combined with technology like in-depth scanning and fingerprinting, Blockchain offers a secure, digital solution to verifying provenance (where a work comes from), authenticity and ownership.

Once the provenance and authenticity is recorded in the Blockchain, it won’t require authentication again, which takes a lot of cost out of the system.

Establishing Identity and Ownership

Anonymity has long been central to the art world. The identity of art owners is oftentimes concealed, especially during auctions. But this creates opacity around tracking ownership- a key element in establishing a work’s authenticity.

Blockchain could provide visibility into the secondary market by recording transactions and changes in ownership as well as transparency around the identity of the owner.

While proponents of the Blockchain believe it has the potential to revolutionize the art market, the technology has been slow to gain traction. As with anything, change is often slow.  It will likely take a progressive gallery or a prominent artist to adopt it before it becomes the industry standard.

How Your eTitle Can Increase Resale Price

From artwork to luxury timepieces, authenticated pre-owned luxury goods are in high demand. In fact, authenticated items have proven to sell faster and fetch higher resale prices than unauthenticated merchandise.

Selling an item registered with a eTitle can mean more money in your pocket! Because you can prove your item is authentic, you have the potential to command a higher sales price.

Essentially an electronic title, a eTitle offers potential buyers real-time verification of authenticity and provenance. Interested customers can view the eTitle by searching the serial number through and instantly confirm the item is authentic.

When selling your item, you will find it beneficial to cite the benefits of your eTitle, which is transferable to the buyer (if the eTitle has previously been registered to you).

Provides Assurance to Potential Buyers:
– Proves item is authentic, not counterfeit
– Tracks distribution chain of the item from the brand to the authorized seller
– Confirms original seller as an Authorized Dealer

Provides After-Sale Benefits to Buyer:
– Documented and verifiable proof of authenticity (useful for insurance/resale purposes)
– Increased value retention
– Potential to command a higher sales price at resale
– Ability to report a theft or lost timepiece

How To Update Your eTitle For Resale

When you post your items for sale, you will want to update the eTitle status to “available.” This status update will show potential buyers who search your eTitle through that your item is available for sale and the eTitle is available for transfer to a buyer.

Update Your eTitle to an Available Status:
1. Go to
2. Click the Sign In button and log into your account
3. Click the ETITLES hyperlink or tile
4. Click the MANAGE ETITLE button next to the item you are selling
5. Within the eTitle details, click the dropdown menu next to eTitle Status and select “Available”

How to  Transfer Your eTitle to a Buyer

The cost of transferring a eTitle to a subsequent owner or buyer is a nominal 1% fee (1% of MSRP), which can be paid by either the owner or the buyer of the item.

Transfer eTitle to a Buyer:
1. Go to
2. Click the Sign In button and log into your account
3. Click ETITLES
4. Click the MANAGE ETITLE button next to the item you wish to transfer
5. Click the TRANSFER ETITLE tab
6. Select the radio dial button for the individual (Owner or Buyer) paying the transfer processing fee
7. Enter the recipient’s email address
9. If you selected the transfer processing fee to be charged to the Owner (you), enter your payment information and click ACCEPT

Once the eTitle is transferred to the buyer, they have complete control of their eTitle and will have full access to the lasting benefits of their eTitle.

Avoiding Fakes in the Art Market: A Buyer’s Guide

Avoiding Fakes in the Art Market: A Buyer’s Guide

For art collectors, there is no fear greater than discovering that a once-prized work is merely a worthless forgery; a nightmare that has become all too common in the art world.  Instances of art forgery now comprise a major portion of the market – with estimates that at least 50% of all works sold are forged.

Yet, novice buyers aren’t the only victims of buying fake art. Forgeries have proven to fool even the most seasoned professionals and have infiltrated galleries, auction houses, and even museums. When authentication presents such a challenge for art professionals, it’s not surprising that collectors would have trouble determining legitimacy.

With the art market considered to be the largest unregulated market, collectors must be diligent about protecting their investments. Just as home buyers request inspections prior to purchasing a house, the same due diligence should be taken for art purchases, especially when you are going to spend upwards of thousands of dollars.

So what should buyers do to ensure the authenticity of artwork? First and foremost, familiarize yourself with the artist you’re interested in: their style, use of color, materials and signature.

Secondly, try to buy from reputable auction houses, galleries, dealers or vetted art fairs, which are required to certify the works they sell as authentic.

Another crucial step is to confirm the artwork’s provenance. Provenance is the documentation that certifies authenticity. Ideally, provenance should document the history of the piece from the time of creation by the artist until the present day. Details can include a record of owners’ names; dates of ownership; and means of transfer (if inherited or purchased via a dealer or auction).

Provenance can be established through a variety of sources, including:

  • An exhibition or gallery sticker attached to the art
  • An original gallery sales receipt or receipt from the artist
  • An appraisal from a recognized authority on the artist

Also, inquire as to a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). The COA should be signed by either the artist who created the art, the publisher (for limited editions), an established dealer or artist agent, or a recognized expert on the artist.  A legitimate COA should contain specific details including the name of the artist or publisher, the work’s title, the medium (i.e. oil painting, digital print, etc.), dimensions, edition size (for limited editions), and the and contact information of the individual or company that issued the certificate.

Keep in mind that a complete provenance history, especially for older pieces, can be rare. Oftentimes, collectors wish to remain anonymous and sales are done privately, which result in gaps in provenance. Nevertheless, purchasing a piece with incomplete provenance is risky.

In the absence of provenance, other methods may be required to prove a work’s authenticity. These include technological and scientific analyses, but are typically reserved for old masterpieces since the services are quite costly.

In conclusion, it’s a far wiser decision to purchase artwork from a reputable seller that is accompanied by complete provenance.

Are you an art collector? How does lack of provenance influence your decision to buy art? Let us know in the comments below.