New Narrative of Ownership: Digitization Without Destruction

November 18, 2021
4 min read
Burning Banksy

Since forever, collecting and enjoying fine art has been the privilege of a select few. While technology has transformed how we interact with things like music, film, and finance, art has not enjoyed the same dynamics. The greatest collections remain hidden away inaccessible to the world at large.

Blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) offer more paths for more people to own and enjoy art. This broadened access encourages new voices to offer their perspectives on art – contemporary or otherwise –  and fosters a more inclusive market.

Why own art?

Art is arguably the most all-encompassing expression of the human experience – providing us with meaning, inspiration, and a lens through which to view shared cultural experiences. Art collecting is a reflection of a collector’s personality, interests and convictions. Some people use clothing as a form of expression. Art collecting can have the same effect. That is why ownership enhances the enjoyment of art. While anyone can go to a museum and view works on display, owning them is uniquely fulfilling.

To that point, fine art (more specifically, masterpieces created by the world's most recognised artists) is virtually impossible to collect or own. We believe that experience should and indeed can belong to a wider community.

The new ownership narrative

The digital world is transforming perspectives on value and consequentially, the very concept of ownership. What exactly does it mean to own something? In the past, ownership was almost always tied back to an exclusive relationship with a physical asset, but does that really make sense in the digital realm?

NFTs let people own things that were previously not possible to own. In the past, what did it mean to own an image? Was it simply to have it downloaded on your computer? Today, NFTs arguably represent a realer form of ownership than ever before. Physical ownership is less concrete than it seems and largely arbitrary. "Owning" something is occasionally as simple as "having" it or even simply saying you have it. Regarding valuable assets like cars and property, your legal ownership is defined by the conditions of commercial and institutional entities. If those entities decide you don't “deserve” something, they can repossess it: think debt collection or even seizures of indigenous peoples' lands.

We want to create a new way for people to own things and we’re starting with art. Embedded in the blockchain, your ownership of masterpieces in the Particle collection will be immutable and truly yours – in many ways, more clearly than anything else you "own."

Digitization Without Destruction

While others have chosen to destroy assets to facilitate their transition to the digital world, we believe that the physical destruction of art is antithetical to the protection, preservation and enjoyment of it. Our unique approach to digitization protects and enhances art. It allows people to own great works digitally while preserving them physically: digitization without destruction.

While others have chosen to destroy assets to facilitate their transition to the digital world, we believe that the physical destruction of art is antithetical to the protection, preservation and enjoyment of it.

Instead of physically destroying a piece, Particle has chosen to legally destroy it. We’ve founded the Particle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that will “hold” all of our collection’s pieces. Those pieces will never be sold but will be protected, preserved, and displayed ad-eternum for humanity’s benefit. In other words, masterpieces are physically preserved and protected for the enjoyment of the community while their artistic substance is transformed into unique digital collectibles via a Particalization process.

In this process, Particle members become the only non-charitable owners of the foundation's works. Note, the foundation will retain 1% of all Particles. This is to ensure that no one person will ever be able to acquire an entire piece via Particles. To ensure it has the funds to operate, the foundation will receive a portion of royalty revenues from the secondary sales of the Particles.

A movement

We're changing how art is collected – taking works out of warehouses and auction houses, and making them available to everyone. By doing so, we can preserve and protect our greatest masterpieces for ourselves and beyond. The only thing we have to destroy is our old way of thinking. We think it's worth it.

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