Research

NiftyValue Research is a collection of contents about the development of NiftyValue’s stack of products. It includes scientific research we have done or that we like about crypto art, open datasets on crypto art we collected, as well as a series of data challenges we solved using the collected data.

The essential problem NiftyValue targets is the rapid growth of crypto art in the absence of a platform to follow market trends, have support in decision-making and high-quality contents for onboarding. NiftyValue proposes to fill this gap in the crypto art scene.

 

The lack of transparent data on the crypto art market is leading to a concentration of opportunities for a few whales (artists, collectors, investors, galleries) with a limiting impact on the potential size of such a market. Economics literature amply shows that transparent markets are better able to grow, innovate and evolve more dynamically than closed and non-transparent ones.

 

We strongly believe that NiftyValue will not only provide for a solution to a pressing need of the existing crypto art users, but also contribute in broadening the size of this market by making it more transparent.

Research we did

In this section, we collect our own research contributions in the field of crypto art.

You will find an informal and high-level description of each contribution as well as useful bibliographic references with links to download the full version of the paper and supplementary materials.

1. Crypto art: A decentralized view
 

We propose a collection of viewpoints on crypto art from different actors of the system: artists, collectors, galleries, art historians and data scientists. A set of emerging themes and open challenges surfaces. This is one of the first academic papers on crypto art and was accepted for publication in Leonardo, a MIT Press journal.

The writing process went as follows:
1. A general definition of the topic was put forward by Franceschet and Colavizza and used as reference to ask to a set of diverse authors to contribute with their viewpoints asynchronously and independently. No guidelines were offered before the first draft.
2. Afterwards, all authors read and commented on each other’s work and were encouraged to make connections among viewpoints explicit. Every author was further asked to suggest open questions and future perspectives on the topic of crypto art from their vantage point, while keeping full control of their own sections at all times.
3. Lastly, a set of emerging themes were distilled from a comparison of all viewpoints.

 

This process allowed for multiple voices to freely emerge and blend for a contribution on a common topic.


Citation: Franceschet, M., Colavizza, G., Smith, T., Finucane, B., Ostachowski, M. L., Scalet, S., Perkins, J., Morgan, J., & Hernández, S. (2020). Crypto art: A decentralized view. Leonardo, 1–8. [DOI / full version]

2. Art for space

In order to investigate the overlap of the intersection of prestige and success in art, a group of art experts and artists were invited to select a small number of artworks that they deemed valuable. They had to choose among the works on display in the crypto art gallery, SuperRare, in September 2019. Their selection was then matched with indicators of market success for such works.

The research found that prestigious artworks selected by art experts and artists are also successful in the gallery marketplace, revealing an interesting link between prestige and success, despite the early stage of the movement.

 

Citation: Franceschet, M. (2020). Art for space. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, 13(3), 1–9. [DOI / full version / exhibition]

3. HITS hits art

The blockchain art market is partitioned around the roles of artists and collectors and highly concentrated among few prominent figures. We hence propose to adapt Kleinberg’s authority/hub HITS method to rate artists and collectors in the art context. This seems a reasonable choice since the original method deftly defines its scores in terms of a mutual recursive relationship between authorities/artists - the miners of information/art -, and hubs/collectors - the assemblers of such information/art. We evaluated the proposed method on the collector-artist network of SuperRare gallery, the major crypto art marketplace.

We found that the proposed artist and collector metrics are weakly correlated with other network science metrics like degree and strength. This hints the possibility of coupling different measures in order to profile active users of the gallery and suggests investment strategies with different risk/reward ratios for collectors as well as marketing strategies with different targets for artists.

 

Citation: Franceschet, M. (2021). HITS hits art. ArXiv: 1907.07758 [Cs]. [full version / rankings]

4. Artworks, bids and sales from the SuperRare crypto art gallery

We built a dataset containing all tokens, bids and sales that happened on crypto art gallery SuperRare from April 2018. The tokens table contains the text metadata and the links to the media objects on IPFS. We acquired the data from the Ethereum blockchain using Etherscan API.

 

Citation: Franceschet, M., & Colavizza, G. (2021). Artworks, bids and sales from the SuperRare crypto art gallery. [dataset]

Research we liked to share

This is a narrow selection of research contributions about crypto art that we deem relevant and interesting. For each paper we give the source and a brief review of the content of the manuscript.

1. Is non-fungible token pricing driven by cryptocurrencies?

Given the NFT market emerged out of cryptocurrencies, the author explores if NFT pricing is related to cryptocurrency pricing, using Bitcoin and Ether as cryptocurrencies, and NFTs from Decentraland, CryptoPunks and AxieInfinity.

The interesting conclusions are that cryptocurrency pricing behaviours might be of some benefit in understanding NFT pricing patterns. However, the low volatility transmissions also indicate that, unlike cryptocurrencies and stock markets, NFTs can potentially be considered as a low-correlation asset class distinct from cryptocurrencies. This has interesting implications for investment portfolios, as low-correlation assets are highly desirable for their diversifying characteristics. 

Citation: Dowling, M. (2021b). Is non-fungible token pricing driven by cryptocurrencies? Finance Research Letters, 102097. [DOI]

2. Art and blockchain: A primer, history, and taxonomy of blockchain use cases in
the arts.

Providing an enlightening introduction to blockchain technology that goes beyond its relation to cryptocurrencies, this paper starts by tracing the history of blockchain and its creative implications, going on to offer a technological primer for it. Then there is a taxonomy of significant blockchain use cases in the artistic field, with a focus on three areas of great impact of such technology on arts entrepreneurship:
- the blurring of the distinction between for-profit and nonprofit structures;
- the effects on the art market due to changes in art’s ownership structure;
- the possibilities for enacting new models of arts funding regarding both public and private financial support.

In conclusion governance concerns are addressed and the author discusses how blockchain may tip the role of the arts toward democratic availability or commodification of cultural assets.


Citation: Whitaker, A. (2019). Art and blockchain: A primer, history, and taxonomy of blockchain use cases in the arts. Artivate: A Journal of Enterprise in the Arts, 21–47. [DOI]

3. Fractional equity, blockchain, and the future of creative work

Given the current structural misalignment of price and value for creative work, especially in early stages of value creation, what would happen if artists could retain some equity in their work for future sales?

This paper wittingly analyses the case of world-famous artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, finding out what their return would have been if they had retained 10% equity in their work when it was first sold. Drawing from archivally sourced primary market records and modelling a portfolio return using data from the Betty Parsons Gallery and the Green Gallery, the proposed fractional equity model greatly outperforms the stock market. Such model also offers tools for democratised access to the art market and help diversified investments, considering early-stage creative work as an act of investment in itself. According to the authors, blockchain technology would succeed in enabling “a future of work in which anyone can have fractional ownership of the upside they help to create.” 

Citation: Whitaker, A., & Kräussl, R. (2020). Fractional equity, blockchain, and the future of creative work. Management Science, 66(10), 4594–4611. [DOI]