A piece of Ensor for all: KMSKA uses “Art Security Tokens” to catch the best work

1. Why buy an Ensor by parts?

“Binche Carnival”, is the title of James Ensor’s masterpiece that the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA) wants to exhibit at the long-awaited reopening on September 24. But instead of taking an astronomical sum out of its inner pocket to buy it from a private collector, the museum is trying a new path: that of Art Security Tokens (AST for short)

You can think of those ASTs as digital actions in an existing work of art. They are managed and protected through block chain technology, with which you can check everyone’s transactions. You don’t need to be remarkably mediatorial or influential to buy a token, which could eventually put even a very expensive piece of art in the hands of a large group of people. ASTs are redeemable and tradable, just like shares would be on the stock exchange.

2. Does the museum also buy AST from the painting itself?

No, KMSKA only has “Carnaval de Binche” next 10 year loan and therefore is also responsible for its careful preservation. Therefore, the real owners are the owners of the tokens.

Because the principle of ASTs is so new, in practice the purchase was made indirectly. the painting is From a private collection bought by a group of investors. The whole operation was coordinated by Rubya new Belgian collaboration platform that includes tech entrepreneur Peter Hinssen.

Quarter of the ASTs that those investors now hold will be offered to the general public

The KMSKA in Antwerp, which has been under renovation for years.  It reopens in September.

Antwerp Tourism and Congresses

3. How much did the painting cost in total? And how much does an AST cost?

Private investors paid €1.2 million for work. But because ASTs are powered by blockchain technology, that costs money too. Therefore, the painting is divided into 1 million AST worth 1.41 euros† So the total value is like this in practice €1.41 million

We want to make it easier for museums to make the best works from private collections available to the general public.

Gwenn Rubey’s Fogstone

The interested parties you can buy AST for at least 150 euros at the “Binche Carnival”. Starting in 2023, ASTs for the paint will also be freely traded.

4. How is this principle different from NFTs, which are generally considered somewhat controversial?

NFT, non-fungible tokens, are certificates of ownership over digital creations. They are unique, and that’s why not exchangable† Please read: If you swap one for the other, you no longer have the same NFT. Furthermore, the market for NFTs not regulated

AST behave more like share at the fair: they represent a piece of a work of art (until now generally physical). they are too interchangeable: An AST of a particular work of art is identical to another AST of the same work.

AST trading is also regulated† That means investors in Art Security Tokens have the same legal protection as investors in, say, stocks, bonds, or other securities.

5. What are the benefits of ASTs?

At Rubey, they especially want to emphasize that you can actually make art investments and possessions this way. democratize† “A large group of people can invest in art in this way and not just the rich,” explains Gwenn Nevelsteen of Rubey. “We also want to make it easier for museums make available masterpieces from private collections For the general public”.

Everything stands or falls on the trust and veracity of the party offering the tokens

Media Law and Property Lawyer Andries Hofkens, Baumbauer

Lawyer Andries Hofkens, who specializes in media and property law, agrees. He also sees advantages in the use of blockchain technology, thanks to the use of blockchain technology. security and transparency of the art trade† “Furthermore, the art offered will probably first have to go through a reputable institution that authenticity and origin of the work certifies”.

6. Is there any risk involved?

Hofkens sees some legal challenges. “Everything stands or falls with the trust and truthfulness of the party offering the chips“, he analyzes. “Then you have to look closely at that. also go well estimated value after work where you buy AST.”

“This is all new work, really pioneering. So I would recommend you try the traditional ‘Terms and Conditions’ don’t just click. what are your rights as co-owner? Who is responsible for working status† What if someone buys 40 or 50 percent of all tokens? Can he hang that in his house?”

To suddenly answer that last question: in Rubey they point out that in this case the loan agreement with KMSKA has already been concluded for the next 10 years. “However, Rubey and KMSKA are obliged to communicate annually about the state of the painting and, for example, also the movements to exhibitions abroad.”

7. What happens to the work after the 10-year loan?

“As mentioned, it’s a regularized market,” says Nevelsteen. “So we have to offer shareholders a tough exit. That means the loan matures after 10 years and from then on the work can be put up for sale again† Of course, there is a possibility that it will be sold again through tokens. Much will also depend on the relevant legislation, which is likely to evolve significantly over the next 10 years.”

8. Do Art Security Tokens have a future?

The beginning is still very early, so we can only speculate about it. It wasn’t until last year that the AST had something of a breakthrough when a Swiss player “symbolized” a Pablo Picasso painting, “Fillette au béret”, as it has been labeled with a ghastly neologism. At the time, those tokens cost up to $6,000 (at current exchange rates, a good 5,600 euros) each. And the colorful work is now stored somewhere in a dark vault.

A painting by Pablo Picasso,

Rubey’s goal is just the opposite: to make private works of art available in museum collections to a wider public. “Our goal is to offer this concept to many more museums,” emphasizes Nevelsteen. Ultimately, Rubey hopes that in the long run it won’t even be necessary to first buy the art through private investors, as has happened now, but simply immediately public to go.

Hofkens suggests that the concept may also have value for new artists in the long run. “Compare it to what MP3s have done in the world of music: you could be a market you can see emerging for AST from individual artists, outside of the gallery circuit.”

Watch the performance of “Carnaval de Binche” at the KMSK:

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