The Future of the Art World on Blockchain [NYC Edition]

It is long established that artwork information is highly important when determining the art objects value. How old is the artwork? Who is the artist? Rembrandt or his student? What is the chain of custody? Has there been a clear chain of undisputed ownership for the life of the painting? What other identifying information indicates its authenticity? 

Just as important, especially to the artwork owner, is how and where that information is stored.  Given the variability in available information, how can that information be stored in a standardized and reliable way that is recognized across the art community? 

Ensuring the information is secure and unalterable will improve its reliability and, therefore, its value. First, the information collected should be according to a recognized industry standard. The information must be protected against attack and, at the same time, be readily available when desired. On the other hand, the information should be private if the artwork owner so desires. Finally, the methodology for storing the data and access to it must endure even if the entity operating the storage facility disappears or goes “belly up.” 


It should be said that many services already offer data storage of artwork provenance using proprietary hardware, software, and systems. To be effective, those systems must balance the flexibility required by different genres, art forms and artwork owners against the degree of standardization required to make the information easily understandable and valuable. Data stored must be immutable, resilient and secure. I.e., under what, if any, conditions are changes permitted? Can the database withstand attacks or theft attempts? What happens if the owner of the data servers goes out of business?

It turns out that the conditions necessary to provide the stability, security, resiliency, flexibility and economy necessary for a data storage system can be fashioned by an adroit but straightforward combination of well-established and newly developed technological tools: domain names and blockchain.

The Domain Names System (DNS), coupled with blockchain technology, provides two distributed independent, secure databases that, when coupled, answer each of these needs, The DNS provides a 35-year-old tried and true home for DNS records and registration data that can securely house multiple information formats. Uses of blockchain are still evolving but there are already implementations that can securely record artwork transactions in a way that add value to artwork. 

The .ART domain registry ( is uniquely (in the true sense of the word) positioned to utilize both the DNS and blockchain to create a secure, stable and resilient data storage facility particularly suited for keeping and disclosing valuable artwork information. Digital Twin by .ART. 

By virtue of its delegation as a domain name registry, .ART can provide domain names that are assigned to artworks (rather than to institutions or individuals). These domains can be used to house DNS records – these are typically websites that can provide images and evidence of provenance and authenticity. See, In addition, these domains can provide certificates of authenticity. See

The Digital Twin by .ART team has a unique agreement with the global overseer of the DNS to add registration data fields specifically to identify the artwork. To explain this a bit, for every domain name created, registration data captures the domain name holder (or in this case, the artwork owner) name, addresses and other pertinent information. In addition, .ART also captures the information that identifies the artwork. Importantly, it was not .ART that determined which data should be collected. Instead, the artwork information stored in the registration data fields is based on the Object IDTM standard created by the Getty Foundation and ICOM some years ago. 

In other words, only .ART can employ registration data to identify artworks due to its position as a domain name registry and the permission it has received from the regulatory body to augment the registration data set. 

In the Digital Twin by .ART model, the initial blockchain transaction occurs when the domain name is registered, so that each domain name registration used to record artwork data is accompanied by a corresponding transaction the blockchain version found in the Ethereum Name Service. Just as .ART is delegated in the DNS, (making it the unique entity enabled to provide the additional registration data fields to identify the artwork), .ART is also deployed at the “top level” of the Ethereum Naming Services so that it can directly offer and publicly display these blockchain transactions. 

When the artwork is sold or transferred, the domain name ownership transfers with it. In that transfer, another blockchain transaction occurs, establishing an indelible chain of custody. So that the artwork provenance can be demonstrated through the domain name chain of custody and successive blockchain transactions, while the registration data describing the artwork remains constant through a set of owners, providing additional evidence of authenticity. 

Finally, this information is captured and stored in the globally distributed, secure, stable, and resilient DNS and Ethereum blockchain, not on privately owned servers employing proprietary software. The DNS has proven reliable in over 35 years of global use. Blockchain offers the reliability, while offering the promise of future developments in the use of smart contracts that might be used to facilitate secure and permanently recorded art sales. 

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Kim Adsitt

Managing Editor

As a New York resident for over 12 years, Kim is passionate about developing technology in New York City. She has created original online media and groundbreaking content strategy for numerous startups and has become a leading expert in startup news. Specializing in content creation and editing, she manages the team at Silicon to produce high quality, engaging tech content and insight from the leading players in the NYC tech field. Kim has been an avid follower of all things blockchain, iot, ai, and crypto and its disruptive potential in a multitude of industries. She seeks to bring the latest innovative news, applications and use cases to the public.