Artfi, a blockchain-based fine art Fintech project of the art connoisseur Asif Kamal has raised $3.26 Million USD at the Valuation of 100 Million USD in its pre-seed and seed rounds. The firm saw investment from an interesting bunch of angel investors like Sheikha Hend Al Qassemi, a member of the ruling family of Sharjah, Mr. Raza Beig Director of Landmark Group, UAE and several Angel Investors.
The start of this decade, albeit very tough for most people, has brought about the interesting and polarising concept of Web3, a form of the internet which isn’t hosted on large server farms and controlled by big service providing players, but by millions of computers worldwide, allowing the integration of novel technologies like cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
NFTs, as a concept, although being very innovative, and some would say empowering, has struggled to find many use cases apart from being a collector’s pride and a potential token of value in the Metaverse, a concept yet to be completely actualised. Instagram and Facebook have been testing integration of NFTs on their platform’s as well, a mission that has become the very name of the recently rechristened parent, ‘Meta’.
The space has hence seen a whole bunch of startups coming in, and creating Web3 ventures within various sectors, and around several use-cases. Art and creative industry has seen the most such startups so far, and a different concept — albeit in the same sector — has joined that list. Artfi has proved vital in providing a new use case to NFTs. The company is on a mission to democratize the fine art space by fractionalizing high-value artworks into limited editions NFTs which can be purchased with a digital wallet. The NFTs will be minted on the Polygon network.
Blockchain authentication acts as an alternative to physical authentication which is performed by auction houses and other experts. These authentication procedures actively contribute towards increasing of the artwork’s price.
Asif Kamal, Founder and CEO of Artfi, said, “With Artfi we are making it possible that rather than selling one painting to one individual, we will be utilizing blockchain technologies to fractionalize the piece of art into 5,000 to 10,000 pieces. So democratizing it this way will give people exposure to the most exclusive asset class as fractional ownership in a painting as NFTs. People can now invest in fine art with a very nominal investment and can liquidate it whenever they need to by using the secondary marketplace.”
Post that, Artfi will re-sell the art that the Artfi Museum holds on behalf of NFT owners and share the profit with each NFT holder who owns shares in the painting. Kamal says, that this is an opportunity for people to now diversify their portfolios from stocks, Fixed Deposits, etc. and invest in one of the largest asset classes that have “outperformed all these traditional investments for over 30 years”.
Artfi has brought onboard the works of many world renowned artists like Picasso, VS Gaitonde, M F Husain, Sacha Jafri, Banksy among others. These platform will allow users to hold fractional NFT ownership of the artwork. This will allow more art enthusiasts who can’t necessarily break the bank to satisfy their artistic itch, to also hold ownership of their favourite artworks. In this way, Artfi democratizes the $1.7 Trillion fine art industry, so that the history and stories associated with iconic art pieces aren’t only defined by the rich strata of society.
As for the physical art work pieces, Artfi has established a non-profit public trust and physical museum called the “Artfi Foundation”, which will be housing, displaying and maintaining the artworks for everyone to enjoy. The company will also set up a museum in the Metaverse, which will be always accessible.