Yash Nelapati observed the difficulty users encountered in monetizing digital art at Pinterest. Trade in such visual creations is often undermined by the possibility of copying the pieces, which destroys the uniqueness that gives them value.
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The unique advantage of Nelapati’s new site MakersPlace is its capacity to verify the authenticity of pieces long after they have been made and sold. Blockchain technology is perfectly suited to this function, just like it is ideal for authenticating digital currency transactions. The site will give buyers unique, non-fungible tokens supported by the Ethereum blockchain. Each will be permanently recorded in the distributed ledger as corresponding to its piece—like a fingerprint for the work.
Nelapati and his colleagues felt the traditional difficulty with authentication posed an existential threat to digital art in the future. “There are millions of digital creators that are spending countless hours creating digital artwork, but they struggle with basic things like attribution. If you can’t create a sustainable model for digital creators to create, you’re not going to have art,” says MakersPlace co-founder Dannie Chu.