Trying to understand blockchain technology is a bit like trying to wrap your head around the subprime mortgage crisis: It may take more than a lifetime to fully grasp the concepts. In a nutshell, the blockchain is a distributed database—think a living, breathing spreadsheet operating in real-time—that audits itself every ten minutes and can’t be tampered with. An entire bitcoin network, for instance, relies on the blockchain as a shared public ledger. Every transaction of the cryptocurrency then is unalterably recorded.
Turns out this is the equivalent of digital provenance, so it’s very important to art. We talked to ascribe, a company that is using Blockchain technology for art authentication and contracts.
While in Berlin, we had the chance to speak with their creative team—including co-founders Trent and Masha McConaghy—to get a better sense as to what exactly ascribe offers to artists, and delve further into how it plans to specifically address the ongoing issues around the ownership, loaning and consigning of digital art.