Seoul-Based Artbloc to Fractionally Sell High-End Art Using Blockchain

A Korean start-up will be fractionally offering two works by David Hockney in September.

Gangnam, Seoul-based Artbloc this month bought Focus Moving, 2018 and Pictured Gathering with Mirror, 2018. It’ll be issuing 8,500 tokens for the previous and 5,000 for the latter and selling the tokens during an event to be held at Lounge K in Gangnam on September 19.

Each token will be sold at 9,900 won ($8.18).

The tokens will be recorded using ethereum and will be tradeable privately or through a platform for exchange to be set up in Hong Kong early next year. They will not be listed on crypto exchanges as each work will have its native token.

Artbloc Jun Kim sais that the idea is to offer high-end works to regular investors and clients. With exhibits and auction houses serving the wealthy and with the middle class only able to purchase cheaper works, he saw potential.

“Artbloc will sell high-end art to the public,” Kim stated.

He keyed in on Hockney since the artist is amazingly well known in South Korea. An exhibit was held from March through August this year at the Seoul Museum of Art. It was a highly popular show and well covered in the local media, so much so that Hockney is presently nearly a household name. His Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold for $90 million last year, the most ever for a painting by a living artist and 5,000 times the initial cost.

“It was so hot,” Kim said as he described the show in Seoul. “We can sell fractional ownership to normal people.”

Kim would not reveal the cost he paid for the first two paintings he obtained but did say that he was in search of more works. He is particularly inquisitive about works of art by Roy Lichtenstein.

“This is just the pilot,” he says. “It’s just the first step.”

Kim has incorporated an entity in Hong Kong—Artbloc Marketplace—but he says that the works themselves will be stored and presented by galleries in Seoul so that the public and the fractional owners can see them. He stated Platform L in Gangnam and ART 247 in Itaewon as potential locations for display.