The Evolution, and Future of Digital Provenance


Since the first NFT was minted in 2014, digital artists and collectors have praised blockchain technology for its usefulness in tracking provenance, the origin and history of a particular artwork. Never before had artists seen a tool that could do it all like the blockchain, an immutable digital ledger that records transactions without the aid of galleries or other centralized institutions.

In theory, “minting” a piece of digital art on blockchain serves multiple purposes: It documents the date an artwork is made, stores on-chain metadata descriptions, and links to the crypto wallets of both the artist and buyer, thus tracking sales history somewhat automatically and making it easier to estimate a piece’s valuation.

As is common with the advent of any new technology, people embraced this narrative enthusiastically. Finally, it seemed, artists working in digital mediums had a digitally native method for doing what they’d previously relied on paper certificates and gallery spreadsheets to do for them. 

Blockchain certainly presents a new way of…

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