BitCoin and fine art might not seem like natural bedfellows, but Eleesa Dadiani – owner of Dadiani Fine Art in Mayfair – is making great strides in these two seemingly paradoxical worlds
The owner of the gallery Dadiani Fine Art in Mayfair, Eleesa Dadiani, is striving to connect and strengthen the relationship between cryptocurrency, such as BitCoin, and fine art. It began last year when Dadiani Fine Art became the first gallery in the UK to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment.
But what is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency with no physical counterpart. It does not belong to or is run by a government and, as a result, it is not hindered by the borders of the world. The crypto economy is dispersed. It is not funnelled through a central system such as a government.
‘It is stateless. It is universal, if you like, because anybody with an internet connection can participate in this economy,’ says Eleesa Dadiani when describing cryptocurrencies.
The major world currencies, such as the pound or euro, are what is called fiat currency, which is backed by the government that declares it legal. It is not backed by a commodity, such as gold or silver.
When using fiat currency, it is possible to pay by cash or card; however, when using a cryptocurrency to buy something, such as BitCoin, there is no physical counterpart.
Dadiani describes the various crypto coins as fronts for the technologies powering them; for example, BitCoin is the application of BlockChain technology.
BitCoin was the first decentralised digital currency that functions without a central bank or single administrator.
Since BitCoin was invented in 2008, there has been a massive outpouring of cryptocurrencies with various technologies powering them. Now, there are currently over 1,000 cryptocurrencies.
Dadiani Fine Art is the first gallery in the UK to accept cryptocurrency as payment, but Dadiani describes her gallery as old fashioned: ‘We are not a cool quirky gallery in Shoreditch. We are very old school and for us to be doing this kind of thing, it’s a big statement. It’s a declaration of trust first and foremost.’
We serve as a conduit between a new source of wealth and old world dealerships that don’t, by default, accept cryptocurrency
One reason Dadiani announced last year that her gallery would accept cryptocurrency was because she identified a problem in the crypto economy. One of the main problems of the crypto economy is that whatever holdings or wealth a person has is, for the most part, locked into this alternative economy.
‘You are rich on paper. You are rich locked into this economy,’ says Dadiani. ‘I understood that this will be a problem, so there have to be businesses that are functioning within the realm of the crypto economy, who are willing to accept your cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency has to be, at that point, real currency because it is traded for real good and services.’
Dadiani Fine Art is only a very small part of what Dadiani does. She also runs the sister company, Dadiani Syndicate, which acts as a broker between High Net Worth Individuals wanting to use cryptocurrency and luxury dealership that does not.
‘It’s about serving as a conduit between a new source of wealth and traditional dealerships or old world dealerships that don’t accept cryptos but would still like to have new clients,’ says Dadiani.
Rather than individuals feeling the need to sell their crypto coins, the Dadiani Syndicate helps their clients put their money into something tangible that is growing in value such as property, rare cars, and precious stones. ‘Every high-value sector we are brokering on behalf of,’ says Dadiani.
Requiem: The Cryptocurrency Exhibition
The current exhibition at Dadiani Fine Art, Requiem for the Emblem of Power by British artist Paul Wager, is only accepting cryptocurrency as payment. Dadiani decided to do this as a demonstration of her belief in the crypto economy. She views it as more than a speculative trading tool but rather as a real currency.
Connecting the art world to the crypto economy is Dadiani’s way of approaching the problems she identified. The lack of businesses transacting in cryptocurrency and that any wealth a person possess in cryptocurrency is locked into the crypto economy.
There are the people who made a lot of money who now can’t cash out. What do you do with that money?
‘There are the people who made a lot of money who now can’t cash out,’ says Dadiani. ‘What do you do with that money? You use some of it, 10% of it, and put it into actual assets, and then you can see your money. I think that is more realistic than trying to cash out and making real money out of your crypto money.
‘The natural conversion will be not from crypto to fiat but from crypto to assets.’
Dadiani believes that cryptocurrency and the BlockChain technology is the greatest invention since the internet: ‘We are standing at the precipice of something beautiful, of something great,’ says Dadiani.
‘I think there is absolutely a way of integrating the new economy with the old,’ says Dadiani.
30 Cork St, Mayfair, W1S 3NG; dadianifineart.com