Opportunities of Blockchain: What Arts Managers and Technologists Need to Know

Blockchain gained worldwide awareness through the crypto-currency Bitcoin and its rise to popular culture if not use.  Blockchain, itself, is an encrypted dataset that offers significant likely futures for day-to-day activities of an arts organization. From cost reductions on transactions to secure and verified transactions of value or data, Blockchain encryption process secures the information, only allowing people that are part of the transaction to access it. For business in the visual and performing arts, this new technology presents opportunities from marketing to asset management. Examples of potential applications of Blockchain are provided below.  If you have used Blockchain in your organization and want to share how – comment below.



Personal data has essentially become a token of digital identity, as business keep honing their campaigns to target specific traits in the population. Digital marketing firms and savvy arts marketers have the ability to target their clients based on behavior. This model could change, even improve, because of a personal implementation of the blockchain.

If individuals allowed a platform or created their own Blockchain identity that contained data about who they were and what they like, marketing companies could use that information to deliver advertising that was specifically interesting to them. Both the individuals and the companies advertising would benefit. Transactions could happen within the context of blockchain where people share their information and interest using smart contract controls such that companies receive the contact data when the description of the target audience and the personal data match, allowing companies to engage with customers in an almost peer-to-peer basis.  Conversely, individuals could use their information on their Blockchain to create the equivalent of an internet ad blocker.


Institutions could implement blockchain to control, collect, and manage internal financial information. As blockchain saves information in sequence, every transaction within it will contain information about where the money comes from and where it goes; allowing the management to track the use of funds. For example, tracking the expenditure for a project that requires payments to providers, purchase of supplies, and payroll to employees could happen within blockchain tracking instead of utilizing multiple Purchase Orders, payroll companies, credit card and statements. Blockchain would maintain the paper trail and the project coding. Additionally, if all the transactions happen within the blockchain, the board and manager could access the data stores on the blockchain to review it. An example of this model is provided in hyper ledger


One of the perks of blockchain is that it is decentralized, allowing transactions between individuals or an individual and institution without an intermediary to handle the transaction. Organizations could implement a donation method within blockchain allowing individual and corporate donors to contribute to an organization or program without a bank.
Moreover, transparency and trust increase due to blockchain as it ensures that only the customer receives a particular good. A clear solution for the problem of ticket bots. For example, UN has been giving food to the refugees using an iris scanner connected to the ledger at the blockchain, to record who has received the aid. Furthermore, including a smart contract could also allow donors to give only if the program has a particular impact, or to contribute after the institution has demonstrated that the program is viable and possible. Sites like Charities Aid Foundation are also working in receiving donations on cryptocurrency. 

ASSET Management

Asset management, from music to museum collections, can be (and is currently) being tracked internally using blockchain. As blockchain gathers broader use and acceptance direct transactions for the purchase of art or the digital download of music could be tracked throughout the assets existence increasing transparency for artist payments and increasing direct audience to artist exchange.

Human resources (and other partnerships)

Organizations could enter a private blockchain to hire an employee, research on contractors or find partners. If resume details and job requirements were included in blockchain, employers could ask the blockchain for a specific set of abilities desired on the candidate; while candidates can agree to give information about studies, qualifications, and experience. The interaction is the result of a smart contract giving the employer the contact information of the candidates that fit the model established. A similar model could be implemented by universities to verify credentials of graduates thereby increasing the trust of the employers in the credibility of the studies of their possible employees, as an authority like a university entered the data on the blockchain.

Similarly, organizations could obtain better information about contractors or partners background, and employers could verify the information on a candidate after he or she agrees to give access to the information regarding his studies, as it has been uploaded into a blockchain. This process makes impossible forging documents or lying about a degree as an authority like a university has entered the data on a blockchain, and as it is unalterable, there is no chance of forgery.

It is important to highlight that individuals can control their data (birth date, citizenship, financials, education records), and only after they authorize the access would HR be allowed to check the information.

While the samples provided show but a few of the possible yet significant applications of blockchain, it is not the cure all.

The most compelling attribute of blockchain is its encryption, which ensures the data and identity of the persons involved in a transaction. However, one of the most renowned cryptocurrencies suffered an attack that resulted in 50 Million lost, because of a bug on a smart contract. There have been various attacks on the code within the blockchain that demonstrate its vulnerabilities.

As humans are involved to write software interfaces or simply code the blockchain, coding can contain errors. Humans can create code or hack code, but computers are becoming even more prodigious in this regard. Predictions about quantum computers threatening cryptocurrencies are already appearing. Divesh Aggarwal, Ph.D. has done research on the field and his paper says that the threat exists and is imminent, he states “could be completely broken by a quantum computer as early as 2027.”

The future of blockchain is its current avant garde status.  It is just beginning to be taught in universities but to gain widespread use it will need to be incorporated into secondary education.  People interacting with it would be required to understand and know the coding language, to create and execute smart contracts properly. Once a software intermediary is offered the core reason for blockchain is removed.

Blockchain’s future is promising and offers potential solutions to arts organizations in different aspects, but right now the implementation process and the lack of examples with extensive information are a drawback. Clearly blockchain will have a significant role in the future with federal policy framing its use. Early adopters will have a great return on their initial investment and also provide lessons for future use.


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