[THE INVESTOR] Can fine artworks, galleries and museums become much more approachable, transparent and fun for the general public?
The answer is yes for Joanna Pawluk. She is the co-founder and CEO of blockchain startup Orion Vault, which is based in Zug, Switzerland -- dubbed the “Crypto Valley.”
“Using blockchain, it’s possible,” Pawluk told The Investor in a recent interview in Seoul. “It’s quite revolutionary what can be done using blockchain technology. Because in the past, it was difficult to prove ownership and provenance of especially digital art pieces.”
“We want to digitize some of the famous art pieces to bring much more people into the art space. We want to make this art market much more transparent, easy to access, fun and friendly.”
By implementing blockchain technology, the OV platform allow users to invest, trade and collect digital versions of art pieces from major museums around the world. The ownership and trading of all artworks are tracked on the digital ledger, making the transactions more transparent, while incurring lesser fees.
OV also operates a patronage program where people can make donations to support lesser-known artists on the platform, and in return they share profits from future sales.
Joanna Pawluk,co-founder and CEO of Orion Vault speaks during an interview with The Investor
The patronage program is critical for a healthy art ecosystem, noted Pawluk, who was raised by a ballet dancer mom and understands how artists struggle financially. “I also realized how difficult this art market is to enter, in that it is so offline, old-school and lacks technology. That was the time when I felt this market truly needs technology.”
She believes blockchain is the answer that can solve problems pressing the industry. “Blockchain can create value around digital art to make it transparent in terms of ownership and history.”
OV not only tackles high-end, sophisticated arts, but all types and forms of arts, ranging from video to performance art, virtual reality and game designs. For this reason, Asia is a critical market for OV, specifically Korea.
“Korea is the center of not only blockchain technology and revolution, but also a very interesting market for us as esports are huge here,” she said. “Artists who design games can easily offer what they are creating on our platform.”
To accelerate expansion, OV is planning to set up an office here as soon as possible. It is already working on partnerships with art institutions, contents providers, gaming companies and artists here.
The firm, which is currently running a private sale, is seeking to conduct an initial coin offering of its Orion Vault Coin, which is used for payment on the platform. It plans to launch fundraising in the fourth quarter this year, looking to raise US$18 million. Following the ICO, it seeks to list the coin on major exchanges for trading.
Investors or users don’t have to be art aficionados, she emphasized. “Our bigger picture is to bring much more people on our platform who don’t necessarily understand art into this place and show them it’s really cool and fun,” she said.
“We have a really sweet spot and this is a niche market. Our aspiration is to bring art and things that inspire people close to them, helping the creativity run.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)