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.”