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CFI · 209w

AMA with Maecenas Co-founder, Marcelo Garcia Casil,'s new project

First, the basics …

We are creating a decentralised art gallery, democratising access to fine art investment. In a nutshell, we will have a blockchain-driven platform where shares of fine art are bought and sold. The global art market is huge with an estimated $3 trillion of art value in storage. Investment in art is attractive because it is stable and appreciates long term. But you have to be pretty rich to buy a major artwork. Until now. On the platform, Maecenas divides great artworks into fragments and investors trade those shares. You can own a fragment of an artwork even though you could never afford the whole painting or sculpture.

“It’s just like you buy a share in a company. In a way, Maecenas will be the NASDAQ of fine art investment.” So how does it work?

Naturally, most of the first questions from potential investors in our ICO center around how the platform works. To answer that, look at the process from the perspective of, say, an art gallery and also from someone who wants to own a Picasso but has always been priced out. Right now, selling expensive artworks is far from easy. It is an old-fashioned, illiquid and often opaque market. Galleries typically go through a few reputable auction houses that charge huge fees — up to 25 percent. But now we have galleries lining up to sell their art on the Maecenas platform because they immediately get access to a crowd of investors.

“They can auction their masterpiece through Maecenas, selling fragments of the artwork — and paying much lower fees.”

On the other side, an investor on the platform participates in the auction, acquires a share of the art and can then also trade that share on the platform’s secondary market. And just like that, you have a liquid market for fine art investments.

OK. So how do you create pieces of a Picasso? There is what’s known as an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), which is often used for alternative assets. The gallery, for example, puts the art...
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