Securing the art market with distributed public ledgers

Abstract

The art market is an important scenario where many players (artists, buyers, sellers, brokers, etc.) act in a context with partial trust, and still it is crucial to ensure authentication and provenance of artworks. In this paper, we propose to store artworks information and ownership in distributed public ledgers. To this end, we present a distributed, scalable application which provides the main operations for operating on the art market. This application is composed by a back-end based on Ethereum ledger and the IPFS distributed file system, where the data is kept and manipulated by means of suitable Solidity smart contracts; and a web-based front-end. In this way, we obtain the robustness and scalability of Ethereum public ledger with the easiness of common web applications (or even mobile apps). The solution we propose could be applied to similar traceability contexts, where we have to deal with many partners with limited (or no) trust.