The Fine Line Between Transparency and Confidentiality in the Art World

Yesterday, Coindesk wrote about Vastari’s new partnership with Everledger, the world’s largest provenance database for diamonds worldwide.

Everledger, and its founder Leanne Kemp, have achieved great things for diamonds, being able to document the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, colour, carat) in the blockchain to enable transparency and more reliable provenance data for the industry as a whole. Her company is growing to now even start tracking the whole supply chain of diamonds and it is really promising to ensure that any wrongdoings in the diamond industry are prevented.

Given the GIA’s reference numbers for diamonds and the standardised way diamonds are recorded, it was a really interesting application to make these records (which were already publicly accessible via the GIA) un-permutable and accessible via the Everledger feed.

In the art world, it works a bit differently - but there are many similarities we can also apply. Works of art in general have common ways of being defined (think provenance, exhibition history, literary references and vitals about the size, medium and title) but the terms are very variable and disparate depending on the time period of the work of art.

Everledger and Vastari have come together to think about the practical applications of applying what Kemp’s team discovered with diamonds to tangible art assets. This is very exciting because Everledger’s technology is versatile enough to store data about art, but also encrypted in such a way that any certificates would be secure to the standards of financial institutions and only accessible to the owner.

Transparency, or having a very well-documented record of a work of art, is crucial when thinking about art loans, exhibition tours and insurance for works of art shown at museums worldwide. At Vastari, we noted that the works that were most likely to be requested for museum exhibition loans or tours were the ones who were properly documented and clear on the history of the work and where it was referenced.

But, this transparency needs to be secure to work. One of the most exciting things about blockchain is its ability to be secure and to ensure that multiple parties can verify a transaction, while still keeping it encrypted.

Any collaboration we launch with Everledger would help build the digital world of art logistics - but we are conscious that there is a fine line between transparency and confidentiality. Blockchain is a tool that can be seen as a buzz-word and we want to make sure that it is applied in the best way possible.

It is exciting to see what we can build.