Master-pieces: Swiss bank issuing NFT shares in Picasso painting for $6K each

Digital asset-focused Swiss Bank, Sygnum, has teamed up with art investment firm Artemundi to offer fractionalized ownership shares in a Pablo Picasso painting for $6,000 each.

Shares representing ownership over $3.68 million Picasso painting, “Fillette au beret,” will be tokenized and issued via blockchain technology, allowing a wide variety of investors to gain exposure to the artwork.

The nonfungible tokens (NFTs) can be exclusively purchased by sophisticated and institutional investors through Sygnum Bank, with secondary trade set to take place on SygnEx — the bank’s digital asset trading platform.

Trades will be settled in Swiss Francs (CHF) using Sygnum’s native CHF stablecoin, DCHF. Fractionalized ownership over the painting will be recognized by Swiss law.

The 1964 painting depicts a beret-capped child in brightly coloured clothes, and was last sold for $2.48 million in 2016. The physical painting will not be sold, with the artwork slated to remain at a high-security facility when it is not being loaned to museums for exhibition.

Artemundi co-owner, Javier Lumbreras, emphasized the revolutionary utility offered by fractionalized ownership through NFTs stating:

“Artistic, cultural objects of universal appeal, once reserved for an elite group of collectors or the museums, can now be safely and directly owned without the burden of high entry barriers.”

“The art market is absurdly opaque and inefficient, but these traits will soon be relics of a bygone age,” he added.

Sygnum is not the first company looking to tokenize the work of Picasso.

In June, Soethby’s auction house announced it had teamed up with Mira Imaging with plans to auction Picasso’s work “Le peintre et son modele” alongside an Ethereum-based non-fungible token created by scanning “every micron” of the painting’s surface to create a “unique encrypted signature” representing the work.

Using a Looking Glass scanner, the NFT could be scanned to confirm the authenticity of the work. However, the NFT offering was scrapped by Sotehby’s, with the painting selling for $3.12 million without an nonfungible counterpart.

Related: Winner spends a fortune in crypto on Sotheby’s diamond auction

Last month also saw the launch of “The Burned Picasso” project from artist collective, Unique.One Community.

After displaying a Picasso sketch at a gallery in Denver, an NFT representing the artwork was minted at the end of the June, with the picture’s physical form getting incinerated.

The NFT auction will be live for the next two weeks, with a starting price set at 0.25 ETH (roughly $500). The auction winner will also receive the framed burnt remnants of original artwork.

In 2018, John McAfee teamed up with DLT platform Maecenas and crypto exchange Ethershift to auction an ERC-721 token representing ownership over a Picasso artwork.


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