The Wealth Scene spoke to Eleesa Dadiani of Dadiani Fine Art Gallery this week. The first art gallery in the UK to accept multiple cryptocurrencies.
You have just become the first art gallery in the UK to accept multiple cryptocurrencies. Is this a demand-driven decision?
It is difficult to know where there is a demand, until you create a product or a service and test the public response. So while this isn’t an instinctively demand-driven decision, we are doing this to encourage that demand, by bridging the modern digital world with the luxury sector.
I am an absolute believer in blockchain, cryptography and, by extension, the acceptance of cryptocurreny as a payment form. Cryptocurrencies makes transactions very simple and more secure than conventional currencies.
How does adopting cryptocurrency fit in with Dadiani Fine Art’s wider identity and mission?
We believe in innovation and understanding how the world works at large. I also like the combination of principles and technologies: cryptocurrency and the fine art world is something that in its default may be seen as an antithesis, but it is actually a beautiful contrast that can work together; it fashions an elegant hybrid.
Adopting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment doesn’t necessarily define us, or reflect our principles as a fine art entity. But we are the first gallery in the UK to do it.
Cryptocurrency has divided opinion, with some treating it with suspicion and volatile. Do you think that is fair?
Unfortunately, and understandably, many people still don’t know very much or fully understand cryptocurrencies. Part of my reason for adopting cryptocurrencies is therefore to help educate people about it.
Blockchain is an unbiased application without intrinsic roots in criminality. What people do with its application shouldn’t impact what people who don’t break the law do with it. The same goes for traditional banking – there are criminals who use it, but it doesn’t mean the whole system is criminal.
I believe cryptocurrency will have the same impact that the internet had. Digital currency may naturally lend itself to younger people, but it is already transcending this and we are seeing people of all ages, creed and class embracing this technology.
What effect do you expect the decision to accept cryptocurrency to have on your business?
I think it will globalise it, and broaden our customer base because there is a class of buyer that markets have not quite cracked yet. Everyone knows about property millionaires and oil tycoons, but there are bitcoin millionaires as well.
People are making a lot of money and it is time to test the buying power of this new, abstract currency. We are trying to do this by offering this class the chance to buy art in cryptocurrency.
Is this a unique move in the art market or is it likely to be adopted by other galleries here in the UK?
It is certainly unique in the way that we are doing it. We are not only accepting cryptocurrencies, but we are supporting the whole cryptocurrency network and giving it a lot of attention as a traditional business.
I believe other galleries will follow because the benefits of dealing in cryptocurrency are clear to see.
If I were to walk into your gallery today, what pieces could I buy with cryptocurrency?
All of our pieces are available for purchase through cryptocurrency, people can request a catalogue that has a full inventory of works. We are currently running an exhibition: ‘The Noise’. It features sculptures crafted from the exhausts of the screaming V8 engines from Formula One cars. There are six sculptures showing, including one gold-plated set from the Sauber driven by Kamul Kobayashi at the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix. Each piece has its own unique history.
What drew you towards these sculptures?
It was a complete wildcard compared to what we normally put on, but sometimes art needs to be a bit broader than it is. I love Formula One and I love racing. While they are not conventionally ‘fine art’ there was something so fine about the sculptures that I couldn’t say no.
All of our exhibitions have an element of protest and these engines belong to an era of naturally aspirated engines, the Ferrari 056 – these were the bad boys, and the scream is exactly what marked the golden age of motor racing. These represent the increasing gentrification of a sport historically beloved by fans for its grit and danger.
And finally, you’re also looking into launching your own cryptocurrency?
There will be a launch of our own cryptocurrency soon – but I don’t want to give too much away just yet!
Thank you very much for your time Eleesa.