Welcome to issue #32 of our recently launched Q&A series, Startup Spotlight.

This series is all about diving into the world-class technological innovation conducted by exciting startups. Getting to grips with the technology, the mission, and even the stories behind them.

In each edition we sit down with a different startup founder, leader, or operator in an easily digestible conversational style Q&A format.

Today we interviewed Francesca Casiraghi, CEO of London Trade Art, to talk about how art ownership is no longer just a rich person’s game.

Highlights:

  • 🦾 Building cutting-edge technology to make the art market more accessible
  • 🖼️ Sold out in 24 hours: London Trade Art’s first artwork sale was an overnight success. Literally.
  • 🤝 Developing a secondary market that allows co-owners to trade their art shares

Investing in stocks and shares can be a risky business. But what if there was a safer way to invest? In art for example? Art is deemed a secure asset that rarely devalues and is less susceptible to risks associated with financial market crashes – much like gold. 

But isn’t high-value art ownership only accessible to elite groups?

Not anymore. Times are changing – thanks to London Trade Art.

Bridging the gap between art and finance, London Trade Art gives collectors, private individuals and companies the opportunity to become art co-owners by buying just a percentage of an entire piece of art with their innovative fractional ownership model.

From as little as £100 per share, you can own part of a valuable piece and pay in fiat or cryptocurrency – opening the door to a whole new generation of collectors and investors.

How. Cool. Is. That?

What’s even more encouraging is that these fractional ownerships are regulated and legally binding – guaranteeing ownership of the shares purchased. *Quickly checks crypto balance…*

It seems that London Trade Art have changed the face of the art market but what makes them unique?

What hurdles have they faced along the way?

And finally, what’s up next?

It’s time to chat with Francesca to find out... Here we go.👇

What is the mission of your company?

Our mission is to democratise the art market by rendering the ownership of high-value artworks accessible to everyone through the innovative model of fractional ownership.

We know that purchasing a high-value artwork is inaccessible to the majority of people, so we offer them the possibility to purchase percentages of these artworks, in the form of Art Shares, thus making them co-owners of the pieces. 

How are you using technology to help solve that problem? 

In order to ensure transparency and traceability, we have associated each Art Share to a unique and irreproducible NFT minted through the Polygon blockchain, an eco-friendly Ethereum.

Our process is quite unique, however, in that each NFT serves as a smart contract, linked to all the digital documentation pertaining to the artwork, including the Certificate of Authenticity and the Joint Ownership Agreement. 

As a next step, we are also creating the secondary market, or Art Exchange, which will allow co-owners to trade their Art Shares and track the performance of their trades through an online, easy-to-use platform, much like the stock market. 

What's your unique selling point? 

We offer payments in fiat and cryptocurrency to make art co-ownership even more accessible to a new generation of art collectors and investors. On that same note, we offer affordable fraction ownership projects, based on a price point for each share of around £100. Through the Art Exchange, we will allow users to trade their shares in a transparent online secondary market.

Another one of our USPs is our close partnership with both the asset management firm, Redhedge Asset Management LLP, and the international law firm, Withersworldwide, which has helped us regulate co-ownership on the basis of tailored contracts and terms of use created ad-hoc for LTArt. This legal documentation includes the Joint Ownership Agreement.

What have been the greatest challenges to date?

Our greatest challenge has been to educate the famously traditional art market, which has long been anchored to inefficient trading systems and has been reluctant to adopt new technology until it was forced to accept this with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What major milestones have you achieved, and what's next!?

Our major milestones include the sale of our first animated digital artwork by @frankxtown, which sold out in just 24 hours. 90% of the Art Shares of our first high-value artwork by Alighiero Boetti also sold out in just a few weeks. In a few weeks, we will also release our latest fractional ownership project, which is a piece by Marc Chagall.

Securing this piece and being able to offer it on our site has also been a significant milestone for us. We look very much forward to being able to secure and offer more high-value pieces by such esteemed and established artists in the near future.

Thanks, Francesca!

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