FULL DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a professional financial adviser. All views expressed in this article are my opinions alone. It is strongly advised that you do your own research before becoming a crypto holder. There are risks involved and the crypto market is extremely volatile so there is always the chance that you could lose your money. Links to sites and products are my personal referral/affiliate links. NEVER invest more than you’re willing to lose! Be smart!
Graffiti is an art form that goes beyond the stereotype of a pointless tagging on a derelict wall in a crime ridden street. I’d like to think that this portrayal of graffiti art is now in the past and with the help of iconic artists like Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey and Banksy, people are viewing these creations not as vandalism but as art in a complex form. There’s an ever growing amount of people that love this particular art form for many reasons. For example the political statements, creativity, and protesting against the system shown in each piece of art. People love it so much that the amount of graffiti art collectors is growing every single day. However, the fact that many creators of graffiti want to maintain their anonymity, makes giving away their bank account details, or PayPal addresses for transfers, unfeasible.
This article delves into whether graffiti art and cryptocurrency (AKA digital currency) could link together to benefit the trade and allow growth. I’ll be trying to figure out if this relatively new wave of payment could bring graffiti art further into the mainstream, what other advantages there are and on the other side of the coin, what are the possible disadvantages?
Ways to Make Money
Graffiti is typically not an easy art form to sell, unless you’re someone like Banksy. Cryptocurrency could drastically change this though! Imagine walking down a street and seeing an incredible piece of graffiti, more than often you won’t even know who it’s created by. As an artist, you could simply tag your piece of art with a QR code which can be scanned using a mobile phone. Once scanned, it could potentially take you to the artist’s website or app where you could read all about them, their reasons behind the piece of art, maybe even a bio (unless they’d rather remain anonymous), but more importantly an online shop! In the shop, using crypto, you could purchase pieces of art created by the artist and have it posted directly to you. No middleman taking a huge cut but a direct link to the artist!
Let’s say someone doesn’t want to buy a piece of art but wants to contribute a little bit to the artist just like dropping a bit of cash in a hat for a busker on the street. Well, this can easily be done too. Once on the artist’s website, there could be a crypto wallet address which would allow you to quickly and simply transfer an amount of your choice straight to the artist.
How to Protect your Art
There are possible risks that need to be addressed; one of which is what’s stopping another artist from going around and tagging other artist’s work with their own QR code and falsely claiming ownership for it? Your artwork could become your sole earnings or at least a decent chunk of your overall income so you need to protect it. Here’s a potential solution…
Once you’ve completed your artwork, you could take a photo of it (including the QR code) and upload it onto your app or website which registers the artwork using image recognition software embedded into it. If someone else uploads the same or extremely similar photo onto the internet then this would flag up and notify the original creator immediately.
Copyrighting your graffiti artwork falls into a very grey area and brings in a few legal issues. If you are painting onto someone else’s property without permission then this can be considered as vandalism. If you try to copyright it then you’re just admitting to an offence and are open to the consequences. If you have been granted permission by the owner and can prove this (ideally in writing), then technically copyrighting the artwork is achievable and a wise choice to make.
This is all a very interesting and exciting aspect of the future of graffiti, however, as soon as legalities are brought into the equation then it tends to become a little offputting to some but in my opinion, well worth the potential returns.
Selling art for cryptocurrency rather than centralised currency like pounds and dollars (AKA ‘Fiat’ Currency) could be seen as an investment to artists. They could sell a piece of art for £/$1,000 worth of crypto but that same amount of crypto could be worth far more in days, months or years. On the flip side it could be worth far less so this certainly needs to be taken into consideration. This brings into equation, once the seller has received the crypto from the buyer, do they hold (AKA ‘Hodl‘) for the long term or do they transfer to fiat currency immediately?
As I write this article, The Dadiani Fine Art Gallery in Mayfair, London is hosting Requiem for the Emblem of Power; the first exhibition in the world to solely accept cryptocurrency for the sale of art. This is amazing promotion for the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum which are being accepted in the exhibition.
I personally think that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for the use of crypto compared to current fiat money. It just seems very fitting to use decentralised currency that’s not in the hands of a bank or government to trade graffiti art which is often a very anti-establishment art form.
Having a platform for potential new customers to get immediate access to the artist is a brilliant thing. This could spur artists on to do this on a more regular basis and turn it into a career. The potential is there, the tools just need to be utilised.
– Written by James Farina
– Article Featured Image: The artwork, ‘R.I.P Banking System’, was created by LUDO in Paris. Photograph by streetartnews.net