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Will Monegraph open the doors to a new ecommerce market for digital artists?

Most sea­soned e‑commerce ana­lysts will know that the world beyond the web has come to be known as “meat­space”. And for one species of poten­tial entre­pre­neur, visu­al image artists, meat­space is where they have to stay if they’re to make a liv­ing. But New York start­up Mon­e­graph is poised to change all that. A new ecom­merce mar­ket in dig­i­tal image art beckons.

Authen­ti­cat­ing dig­i­tal orig­i­nal­i­ty 

The prob­lem that dig­i­tal artists have is that it’s vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to des­ig­nate an orig­i­nal dig­i­tal image as, well, orig­i­nal. In a nut­shell, it takes a lot of skill and labor to make a con­vinc­ing copy of an oil paint­ing and no copy will cor­re­spond in every detail with the orig­i­nal. But any­one can make a copy of a dig­i­tal image in an instant: with­out the scarci­ty fac­tor inher­ent to meat­space art, there’s no viable mar­ket for dig­i­tal artists.

Mon­e­graph, which was cre­at­ed this year for the Rhi­zom Sev­en On Sev­en con­fer­ence by fel­low New York­ers Kevin McCoy (a mul­ti-media artist) and Anil Dash (entre­pre­neur and writer), is about to open real e‑commerce prospects for dig­i­tal artists. Any e‑commerce ana­lysts out there intrigued by how this fete will be actu­al­ized should lis­ten up now.

Artists sign in to the Mon­e­graph site through Twit­ter and sub­mit a URL of their dig­i­tal cre­ation. They then receive a blockchain key and val­ue that they can store in a vir­tu­al cur­ren­cy wal­let (Name­Coin), which func­tions as a dig­i­tal water­mark and deed con­fer­ring unique own­er­ship on their image. Should anoth­er per­son sub­mit the same image, Mon­e­graph instant­ly iden­ti­fies it as pre­vi­ous­ly claimed.

The future dig­i­tal art market

Cre­ators can share copies of their work as they wish, con­fi­dent in the knowl­edge that no mat­ter how viral it might then go, they haven’t lost con­trol. They can also sign the Mon­e­graph deed over to a buy­er if they want to sell.

Meme artist Ronen V, who co-found­ed Stan­dard Cre­ative, said:

“Art is a cur­ren­cy. The evo­lu­tion of art into dig­i­tal cur­ren­cy is — no ques­tion — the future. And this is a good step. I think pre­sent­ing it as a 1:1 trans­la­tion of the way phys­i­cal art is bought and sold (“orig­i­nal,” etc.) may be mis­lead­ing. That said, what it’s actu­al­ly doing is pret­ty cool, and I think will grow either with them or oth­ers doing sim­i­lar things.”

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