American online art auctioneer Paddle8 and The Native, a Swiss tech company, are launching a blockchain-based art authentication service. Paddle8 will offer a digital certificate, or P8Pass, for each of the thousands of artworks sold online and encode this information on the Bitcoin blockchain.
P8Pass is a digital certificate with data encoded continuously onto a blockchain that will be linked to digital directories, information from museum catalogs, and specialized literature. Every artwork purchased on Paddle8 gets a certificate with direct access to ownership history and authorship information. The service was developed in collaboration with the US tech company Verisart, one of The Native’s minority investments.
The service reportedly allows buyers to check digital certificates in real-time, rather than relying on a single certificate from the previous owner. The data, once recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain, “cannot be modified without making the change transparent to all users.” Tyler Winklevoss, longtime Paddle8 strategic advisor, said in a press release:
“We are seeing its application to the art market, which is notoriously opaque, as the tip of the iceberg in terms of democratization and upending the status quo.”
Paddle8 and The Native have collaborated in the past. In January of this year, the Swiss tech company invested in Paddle8 after the bankruptcy of their parent company, after which they began a project to facilitate the purchase of art with cryptocurrencies.