Dadiani Fine Art in Mayfair has become the first gallery in the UK to accept cryptocurrencies in six different forms, including Bitcoin.
Welcome to the multi-billion-dollar global art industry. In this thriving international market, there has been a resilient and slow shift to adopt any form of modern trading, especially transactions involving e-currencies. But Eleesa Dadiani wants to change this by shaking up the traditionally conservative fine-art exchange.
Coming from an established line of Georgian nobility with a long family history of avid art collectors and dealers, Dadiani has recently introduced a radical change to how she conducts her business — introducing cryptocurrency to clients at her Mayfair art gallery. She argues that there is a large community of tech-savvy high-net-worth individuals that the fine-art and luxury sectors are overlooking.
Cryptocurrency, first popularised in 2009 with the dawn of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin, is a virtual currency based on Blockchain technology. It operates independently of a central bank and is an open-source, peer-to-peer decentralised technology available to anyone with access to the Internet.
Here she talks about why she is a believer in the power of spending your hard-mined crypto-cash to not only buy art but other luxury assets as well.
Why is the world getting excited about Bitcoin and other digital currencies?
First, democratisation of trade is an obvious incentive. Once people break past the barrier of the usual ‘criminal’ and ‘volatile’ aspects, and begin to look at the technology for its merits beyond the immediate fear layer, and I am not talking solely about Bitcoins, then we will be able to have more user cases for this and what could be a global currency. It begins with real businesses prepared to accept change and exchange goods and services for this currency — that is when it becomes real.
What do you think about the tension between the traditional fine-art market and accepting cryptocurrency?
I think it’s fairly natural that they should feel this way. With traditional, exclusive markets with very old participants, such as second- or third-generation dealerships, there is more to protect and reputation is everything to us. But because my lineage as a dealer in the UK began comparatively recently, I belong to a new generation of thought: a cognitive frame more open to change and implementation of non-traditional means.
How did your personal journey towards using cryptocurrency started? Why have you adopted it?
I believe in free-market, democratic, borderless trade, and its potential to buttress the global economy. Part of the reason why people turn to shady practices is because of the rigidity of local regulations where governments have too much power and control over how individuals and businesses pilot and conduct. Seeing that the UK government is welcoming innovation using Blockchain technology, I wanted to test its capacity and create a market place that makes full use of recent changes and the opportunities that come with these changes. I wanted to create a considerable user case and a proven commercial use of the Blockchain tech and its application. In doing this I have much to gain once we, as a UK business, enter the global stage.
"I believe in free market, democratic, borderless trade, and its potential to buttress the global economy." — Eleesa Dadiani, founder and owner of Dadiani Fine Art.
How easy is it to accept a cryptocurrency payment?
It is fairly easy and inexpensive compared to international transfers using a banking system but there is room for improvement; this is not a mature technology.
Are any of your customers paying via cryptocurrency yet?
We have had a few of sales already with cryptocurrency from our latest exhibition since we announced our acceptance of cryptos and a few pieces from our general inventory.
Tell us more about your new business venture, Dadiani & Partners.
Dadiani & Partners, recently renamed as Dadiani Syndicate is the first luxury market place in the UK that offers exclusive assets from hyper-cars to crown estate properties that can be bought with cryptocurrency. That is the basic function of the outfit, but, furthermore, it explores crypto-economy as a transmitter and facilitator of global, democratised trade.
So, we have created a foundation for international trade, whereby foreign investors can buy into UK capital without regulatory restraint at their end as all trade takes place in cryptocurrency. We are not only selling luxury products but other investment products such as investment funds, bonds and more.
This is not e-commerce; this is a highly personalised service that we as a network of dealerships offer our clients. It is the only way to approach this nature of business as this is an unregulated market, hence self-regulation and client due diligence is very important.