Andy Warhol Is a Bitcoin Star for 15 Minutes

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The world of finance isn’t done yet with its effort to turn artistic masterpieces into tradeable securities. A decade ago it was hedge funds and bankers selling small shares in works by Andy Warhol and his ilk as investment opportunities. Today it's the cryptocurrency crowd.

If history’s a guide, the risk and cost of owning a tiny part of an illiquid, hard-to-value asset still outweighs the rewards. And all that without ever getting to hang the picture on your wall.

The new tilt at art trading is as much a throwback to pre-crisis financial engineering as it is about crypto-futurism. A British gallery is promising to sell up to 49 percent of Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs in a blockchain-powered online auction. Buyers can pay in Bitcoin, Ether or other tokens. They’ll take cash too if you’re that way inclined.

How To Sell It

Cryptocurrency prices have been hit by a speculative unraveling and a regulatory crackdown

Source: Bloomberg

These micro-stakes would then be traded on a marketplace. There may be a blockchain verifying transactions, and crypto-currencies changing hands, but we've seen art investment pools and art stock markets before. They don't always end well.

Despite all the airy talk about democratizing art ownership and disrupting the gilded world of auction houses and dealers, this doesn’t really do that. Nobody owning a piece of the Warhol will take it home. It's locked up in a tax-free zone somewhere. What’s being traded is a stake in the special purpose vehicle that holds it.

Bank Canvas

A ranking of the world's most valuable artworks, as of Nov. 17, 2017

Source: World Economic Forum

This may be a wonderful way for the ultimate owner to make money from an artwork without taking it out of storage or ceding control, but it's hardly the Barnes Foundation.

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As for the idea that this is a clever bet on the future value of a piece of art, these assets are as risky as any others. The art market is illiquid and can be volatile. Blue-chip artists are no protection against a market crash. Even Warhols were sold at a loss during the financial crisis. Do punters know the difference between this “Electric chairs” canvas, which the gallery says has been valued at 4.2 million pounds ($5.6 million), and others by the same artist?

Artistic Temperament

Global art market sales growth tends to fluctuate

Source: UBS/Art Basel

Imagine what the combined volatility of cryptocurrency markets and the art market might create in times of stress. Liquidity would evaporate. That initial buy-in fee of 2 percent wouldn’t seem so cheap then.

Warhol himself might have enjoyed the idea of trading and owning pieces of art that you've never seen. And there is at least one tangible thing on offer: The people running the auction say buyers can choose to receive a special scanned print of the work in question, which to the naked eye looks just as good as the original. As David Bowie once sang in a song about Warhol: “Can't tell them apart at all.”

If people do manage to make money from this, then finance truly will have reached its post-modern apotheosis.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    Lionel Laurent at [email protected]

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    James Boxell at [email protected]

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-06-08/andy-warhol-bitcoins-are-famous-for-15-minutes

    Bitcoin Is One of the Few Things Surging in a Sea of Losses

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    Amid a sea of red in financial markets, Bitcoin is still flashing green.

    The biggest cryptocurrency climbed as much as 5.4 percent Tuesday to $9,412, the highest since March 7. Bitcoin has gained 20 percent in the past week and 37 percent in April, on track for its best month since its record-breaking December.

    Bitcoin is rebounding from its worse start to a year ever, as it slumped more than 50 percent in the first quarter and plunged to as low as $5,922 from almost $20,000 at the end of last year. The cryptocurrency market is gaining as tax-related selling ends and regulatory-related headlines fade, while Wall Street signals increasing interest in the space.

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Monday that it hired Justin Schmidt as head of digital asset markets to help clients gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds have continued to open even amid the market slump earlier this year.

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-24/bitcoin-is-one-of-the-few-things-surging-amid-a-sea-of-losses

    Bitcoin, the Biggest Bubble in History, Is Popping

    The greatest bubble in history is popping, according to Bank of America Corp.

    The cryptocurrency is tracking the downfalls of the other massive asset-price bubbles in history less than one year out from its record, analysts lead by Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett wrote in a note Sunday.

    The cryptocurrency has fallen more than 65 percent since peaking in December at $19,511. Bitcoin rose 2.2 percent to $6,750 on Monday.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-09/bitcoin-seen-popping-like-the-greatest-bubbles-by-bofa

    Bitcoin Plunges 29% From Record High

    Bitcoin plunged, extending its drop to 29 percent from a record high, on speculation some traders were purchasing its spin-off amidst a battle over the digital currency &#x 2019; s future.

    Bitcoin dropped to as low as $5,605 on Monday, from a record high $7,882 reached on Wednesday, information put together by Bloomberg program. Bitcoin money increased to $2,426 on Sunday, prior to plunging to $1,379 since 9:32 a.m. in Hong Kong, inning accordance with Coinmarketcap.com.

    Bitcoin has actually dropped considering that the cancellation of an innovation upgrade to increase its block size, amidst speculation fans of the proposition bid up bitcoin money to weaken the initial bitcoin.

    &#x 201C; It &#x 2019; s the bitcoin money pump, &#x 201D; stated Arthur Hayes, president of BitMEX, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong. &#x 201C; It &#x 2019; s clearly a collaborated action of particular people who have a beneficial interest in bitcoin money. &#x 201D;

    At the heart of the dispute is how bitcoin &#x 2019; s underlying innovation can accommodate increasing deals as its appeal booms. While increasing its block size would assist, challengers argue it would just focus mining power, weakening the decentralized nature of bitcoin.

      Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-13/bitcoin-plunges-29-from-record-high-as-civil-war-intensifies

      Bitcoin Surges Past $7,000 to Extend Record Rally

      Bitcoin rose previous $7,000 for the very first time, breaching another turning point less than one month after it tore through the $5,000 mark.

      The digital currency got brand-new motivation today after CME Group Inc., the world &#x 2019; s biggest exchange owner, stated it prepares to present bitcoin futures by the end of the year, mentioning suppressed need from customers. Doubters consisting of Themis Trading state the rally is proof that the software-created possession is a bubble that needs to not be offered regulative cover.

      Spot prices for bitcoin climbed up as much as 12 percent to a record $7,392 prior to drawing back somewhat to $7,025 at 8:53 a.m. in New York. The cryptocurrency is up practically sevenfold this year and is now worth more than $100 billion .

      &#x 201C; It is merely impressive how resistant bitcoin has actually remained in the face of considerable negativeness, &#x 201D; stated Lukman Otunuga, a research study expert at ForexTime, in a Nov. 1 note to customers. &#x 201C; The rate action recommends that bulls have an extremely firm grip. &#x 201D;

      In a post today, Themis alerted CME is &#x 201C; collapsing &#x 201D; to press from customers and positioning a seal of approval around a &#x 201C; really dangerous, uncontrolled instrument that has a history of scams and adjustment. &#x 201D; The items prepared by CME &#x 201C; advise us of the collateralized financial obligation commitments which were marketed throughout the monetary crisis, &#x 201D; the post stated.

      Asked whether he &#x 2019; s worried about a possible bubble, CME Chief Executive Officer Terry Duffy stated on Bloomberg TELEVISION on Nov. 1 that the company &#x 2019; s task is to &#x 201C; handle danger, not choose exactly what the cost of an item is. &#x 201D;

        Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-02/bitcoin-surges-past-7-000-to-extend-record-rally-this-year

        Jamie Dimon Said He Wouldnt Talk About Bitcoin Anymore. That Lasted One Day

        Jamie Dimon stated Thursday that he was done discussing bitcoin. Obviously not.

        On Friday, the JPMorgan Chase &&Co. ceo duplicated much of his September tirade versus the cryptocurrency, stating individuals who purchase bitcoin #x &are 201C; foolish &#x 201D; which federal governments will squash it one day.

        &#x 201C; Who appreciates bitcoin? &#x 201D; Dimon asked at the yearly conference of the Institute of International Finance in Washington, prior to calling it a &#x 201C; terrific item &#x 201D; for lawbreakers.

        Dimon ended his most current diatribe with a brand-new vow– this is the last time he discusses bitcoin.

        Read more: &#x 2018; Rent-Taker &#x 2019; Dimon Will Lose in Cryptorevolution

          Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-13/jamie-dimon-lasts-one-day-on-his-vow-to-not-talk-about-bitcoin