Thomas Crown Art Plans to Battle Art Forgery with Blockchain Anti-Counterfeit Solution

“Is that Genuine?”

Thomas Crown Art is serious about fighting art forgery. The art-tech company has analyzed the problem of art forgery since long, and they have developed a blockchain anti-counterfeit solution.

Art forgery is a two-thousand years old problem. A Sotheby’s Institute of Art report estimates that 10 percent of artworks in museums are counterfeit. It could be a conservative estimate because experts found that more than half of artworks in a South France museum were fakes!

When artists create their artworks, they first create them in the mind. Then they toil hard, finally, after a lot of effort they create their masterpieces. A forger has it easy since it takes significantly less skill to produce a counterfeit. Also, once they make the first counterfeit, they can easily replicate, with minimum effort.

Artists use archaic methods to prove their creators’ ownership of their artwork. A common method is inscribing artists’ signature. However, forgers can easily circumvent that fundamental safeguard. Separating fake from genuine is more difficult once many counterfeits are on the market. Forging ownership is easy, so how are art buyers to know if a print run is truly genuine?

Artists need a secure way to assert their creator ownership of their masterpieces. The unique ownership key must be incredibly hard to crack so that forgers become disincentivized. No one should be able to tamper with artists’ creator ownership right record. No unauthorized person should be able to make money from that artwork.

Art industry depends on the sale of artwork; also donations are essential for upcoming artists. Can an anti-forgery solution also help artists easily earn from their artwork? That could be a benefit. However, donors must have an easy way to support the new artist.

Thomas Crown Arts’ blockchain anti-counterfeit solution to fight art forgery claims to tick all the boxes. The company has called their solution “smART.”

blockchain anti-counterfeit
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Image credit: steven_yu / Pixabay

“smART” Contracts to the Rescue

“smART,” Thomas Crown Arts’ blockchain anti-counterfeit solution for artworks makes every piece of art a store of value. Artists record their ownership rights in the underlying blockchain. The artwork itself is a crypto wallet, while a smart contract links the ownership record to the artwork. The artwork has a QR code, and the buyer uses the code to pay for it. The artist has exclusive control over the wallet using the private key.

What if someone makes an unauthorized copy of the artwork, and copies the QR code? He can’t access the private key of the smart contract, therefore removing the forger’s ability to capitalize on his nefarious activity. Even if he manages to get the private key, there is yet another hurdle. He still can’t get the smart contract certificate generator address, meaning the smart contract wouldn’t match. This way, the “smART” blockchain anti-counterfeit solution makes art forgery practically impossible.

In the unlikely event of a forgery, blockchain will make it transparent immediately. The artist can then transfer all cryptocurrencies from the wallet, and destroy the artwork and wallet, further deincentivizing counterfeiting.

With the artwork now attached to a crypto wallet, artists can now easily get donations from interested viewers who only need to scan a QR code. Exhibitors and gallery owners can also use this added feature to promote their work more easily.

Stephen Howes, a reputed art-dealer, and Ian McLeod, a technology mastermind, have jointly established Thomas Crown Art. Fighting counterfeiting of any kind is an increasingly prominent blockchain use case. To that end, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) plans to use the blockchain technology for several use cases including fighting counterfeiting of medicines.

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Anujit Kumar is a staff writer for BlockTelegraph. He covers market action and the latest in applications and technical development.

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