“Blockchain technology has the ability to completely change what it means to own and ultimately value a digital creation” - Dannie Chu, co-founder and CEO of MakersPlace
MakersPlace launched on Product Hunt yesterday with a unique mission: a marketplace to purchase digital art on the blockchain. The company was founded by early Pinterest employees, and just raised $2M in seed funding.
How it works: When artists upload their work to MakersPlace, they verify their identity (through an integration with Civic) by taking a photo of their driver's license. An Ethereum-based token is then generated with the artists's name, the name of the artwork, its edition number and the date. This allows artists to simply establish proof of ownership for each work.
“It’s this creator-first approach that has allowed us to introduce and onboard hundreds of digital creators onto the blockchain over the last months. Many who have never heard of or care to understand the details of blockchain technology, but simply wish for a better solution to protect and make money from their digital creations.”
On the buyer side, it's also remarkably easy. While you typically need a digital wallet to make purchases on the blockchain, MakersPlace recognizes that a lot of people down already own a digital wallet or Ether, creating a barrier for this type of sale. So the company partnered with Stripe to support credit card purchases, and then MakersPlace will issue you a digital wallet.
While digital art has traditionally been deemed 'less valuable' than physical art, MakersPlace hopes to make digital art more authentic with this approach. Each and every work has been digitally signed and issued by the creator, making every single purchase unique. To make money, MakersPlace takes a 15 percent cut of each sale.
The art world has been traditionally rooted in insular, relationship-driven practices, and when it comes to adapting new technologies, has been particularly slow to the uptake. But as digitally-native platforms are becoming more and more common for all types of commerce, that's gradually starting to change.
Platforms like Artsy ($100M raised) have managed to make inroads in the space — the site makes money by hosting live online auctions and over 2,000 galleries pay monthly subscriptions to advertise work on the site. Earlier this year, online auction house Paddle8 was acquired by The Native to create an auction that accepts bitcoin. Sotheby's — an old school art auction house — recently bought AI startup Thread Genius to build out its image recognition tech. For displaying digital art in your home, there's also Meural, which was acquired by Netgear. For buying and selling goods on the blockchain, there's Rare Bits and SuperRare. 👀
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