Arkive is building the world’s first decentralized museum – TechCrunch

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Arkive is building the world’s first decentralized museum – TechCrunch

The museum Was it possible to bring the work, curated, funded and displayed in a meaningful context, curated and funded by the Internet, closer to its cultural roots? Religious crafts on display in native art, temples, mosques, churches, etc. in native museums? This assumes that Arkive, which has just raised $ 9.6 million, has purchased the original patent for ENIAC, the world’s first electronic computer, and will be launched from Stealth this week. TechCrunch asked the company’s founder Tom McLeod why he needed a blockchain-based museum.

Let’s start by saying that I’m generally pretty bearish on blockchain technology and no one in their right mind will market me a crypto startup. But this caught my eye, and I’m very reluctant to keep the door half-open to the possibility that this may actually be a wise use of technology. No and a moody old man.

The company’s goal is to create a community of everyday people who want to curate, own and create culture by opening access to museums, one of the most exclusive asset classes ever created. Is to do. It also aims to solve what the museum has traditionally monopolized. That is, to determine an art that is important enough to preserve and worth exhibiting. The company plans to counter the fact that only a small portion of the collection is open to the public and more than 90% of the items are trapped in private collections.

Macleod, the founder of the company, was not his first rodeo. His previous startup Omni was acquired by Coinbase, and there were many other exits in the past, including Pagelime, which was acquired by Surreal CMS in 2015, and LolConnect, which was acquired by Tencent three years ago.

“Arkive is a brand new down-up model that is part of everyday people curating collections and defining the artistic historical relevance and cultural position of items,” said Arkive’s founder and CEO. Tom McLeod said in an interview with TechCrunch. “When we left, we asked,’What if the Smithsonian was owned and curated by the Internet?’ That’s why we launched Arkive. We are committed to building a vibrant community that is part of defining historical significance. “

Arkive has obtained the original patent for ENIAC computers. Image credit: Arkive.

As a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (known as DAO among friends who love simplicity), Arkive’s collection is curated by members who vote for the items they want to get. The idea is to transfer these to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to replace, store, and manage all past history, authentication, quality, and state on the blockchain. As MacLeod explains, blockchain technology is basically to capture the metadata of the item itself and enable some of the ownership of the item.

The first item the community chose to buy was the original ENIAC patent. It is widely recognized as the world’s first programmable electronic general purpose computer. Of course, the patent itself has expired for a long time, but as a historical relic, it’s a great curiosity.

In a fun and geeky video, the Arkive team shares why they’re so excited about ENIAC patents.

Origin of Arkive

Arkive’s idea came from the previous business of Clutter and McLeod, a storage company that overcame its very deep pockets. Storing bicycles, snowboards and tents didn’t get his attention. But something else did.

When looking at religious items in a secular space, it dramatically changes their influence. Tom MacLeod

“You’ll see places where cool, interesting, or unique items come in every day, or they’re very valuable,” MacLeod said in an interview with TechCrunch, where the most unique and valuable items are separate. He taught me how to get into my little room. “There’s something like Spider-Man No. 50. Slowly and over time, those rooms began to look more and more like small galleries and small museums. I literally at least once a week I just went to those rooms and saw all the new things. “

It turns out that people on the Internet have a lot of deep knowledge and interest in the most ambiguous things. These are not art curators — they are ordinary people with special interests. They may not have the money to buy what they are interested in, but what they lack capital, they have passion and knowledge.

“Arkive It started as an idea. What if you take all this knowledge about the Commons and put it in a place where people can suddenly convey, share, learn, and be part of the acquisition committee? This idea has evolved to have an on-chain museum, “says MacLeod. “My achievement at this point is to build what I’m trying to build. I’m not sure if that will succeed. But when I say I’m going to build a museum on a chain, I’m going to build a museum on the chain! “

Why encrypt?

I challenged MacLeod to explain why he couldn’t build a museum with a clean website on his own, rather than adding blockchain technology to the mix.

“Cryptocurrencies can really work. Already established cryptocurrencies are good for subdividing complex financial contracts. It actually does a very good job of dispelling ownership and ambiguity. You can probably do that without a chain, but usually those other solutions still require human interaction or intermediaries. Crypto has access to voting and ownership fragmentation Is doing very well, “explains McLeod.

In addition to ownership, voting, and contracts, other aspects of blockchain also help art. Specifically, it’s NFT, but we don’t know much today.

“On the NFT side of things, we’ve probably seen the simplest, and in my personal opinion, probably the most unconvincing use of the technology,” MacLeod said, claiming that the technology is still in its infancy. To do. “Just saying that you can get an attribute that can be permanently locked to the blockchain (for example, a JPEG or a link to a file),” trading now “is probably minimal. It’s worth creating using only the core concept of non-fungible tokens.

“WWhen I started looking at what the combination of these two was, I realized that there was something like that in Omni’s infrastructure. You will hand over yours to us, and you functionally give us temporary ownership (at least for some time). Because that is the only way we can get insurance. Once it entered our car and returned to you, we returned ownership. That’s how we were able to continue our insurance, “says MacLeod. “It was really very complicated. It was a big problem for us as we always had to have a management process when we started thinking about who owns what and where. Therefore, when passed to the driver, it is scanned with a barcode and then passed to the person on the truck for scanning. Then it leaves the truck and then scanned at the photo station. They are located in the warehouse. Scanned to. To return it, you then reverse it all. We had this very strong line around a series of controls, and it’s basically a short term It’s a history. “

Tired of Shenanigan in the world of art

Of course, I’m not talking about tent times that I haven’t used until my next camping trip. Arkive points out that he wants to build a museum that will work for centuries or even thousands of years, but the heart of the idea began with tents, bicycles and kayaks.

“if you can Once you start moving all the sources of an item on the chain, you have the opportunity to do something that works well with the blockchain method — voting, voting verification, lack of fraud, what you actually did, this signed up. A wallet, this is a voting wallet. There is no way around it. You can create pretty good expressions like a pay for performance system. The Curation Committee at the top of the museum, “says MacLeod. “You move the history of those objects on the chain, so it’s all public now. Where did it come from? Who was it?”

In particular, Arkive points out that he is tired of the shenanigans that are happening in the art world, and that many of those shenanigans are reappearing in the NFT world. MacLeod wants to build a transparent world that anyone can verify and check.

Can I do that with a database instead of a blockchain? Maybe, but Macleod argues that the database is subject to change, and if there is enough money or an emotional connection to the item being played, it poses a risk.

“I think there are some of our ideas that we can replicate using a database. But it is not subject to the same pollution, record changes. To avoid this, open source the database. Basically, blockchain is a huge open source database with a lot of trust and validation, so I got there. I thought this was the best technology to do that. “McLeod says. “Looking down on the future creates opportunities. [the blockchain] I will explain the subdivision. Things can come out of it. I don’t really care about the ups and downs of tokens or the speculative side. I think core blockchain technology works very well when it comes to the transparency of who owns what, where, when, why, how and where it is now. “

There is no physical museum

The company creates a very complex NFT bundle that stores all the rich data about items that are part of the museum. He claims that the use of chains allows for a level of temporary lending of museum works and allows for potential matching to the works. The company is currently not planning to create a physical space.

“It’s not because I’m tired of running a huge warehouse full of things,” laughs Macleod, but when challenged, he may be in a unique position to do just that. I admit that it is not. “I think the founder / market suitability is very high. [for operating a physical museum] Because I know what it takes to run such an organization. I know how to move expensive physical items and store them in multiple states. “

However, the company’s vision is not limited to acquiring items. It highlights the challenges of art and crafts that are too familiar to visitors to contemporary art museums.

“If you get a work from an indigenous artist, you don’t have to put it in the British Museum. You can put it in the nearest museum where it’s close to the actual work, they’re inspired, or where they want. We were able to talk directly with them, engage in partnerships and bring it to places of importance to them. We can maximize our impact, ”says MacLeod. “There were a lot of very interesting articles about religious art, and how much of religious art was intended to be included in religious groups. They were supposed to be in temples, mosques and churches, and now most importantly. Much of the religious art is actually in the museum. When looking at religious items in a secular space, it dramatically changes their influence. “

Lynn Hirschman Riesson (left) and her 1985 work “Temptation” were the second artwork that Archib acquired. Image credit: Arkive (Opens in a new window)

In addition to the ENIAC patent, Arkive has also obtained Seduction (1985). This is a vintage print by Lynn Hershman Leeson, which will be part of Arkive’s traveling exhibition in late 2022, as well as the ENIAC patent. Printed matter will stay for a long time in a prominent public place selected by the Arkive membership.

Arkive also produced a short video of Seduction, highlighting why he decided it was worth adding to the collection.

Financing round

The company is offline and led by TCG Crypto with $ 9.7 million in funding with NFX, Freestyle Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Not Boring Capital, Precursor, Chainforest, Coil, Julia Lipton, Joe McCann, Chris Cantino, Marty Bell and Paul. We are announcing a funding round. Veraditta kit and many others.

“It’s not a museum of Metaverse filled with expensive monkeys and expensive digital images of NFTs,” Nate Bosshard, a partner at Offline Ventures, a major investor in Arkive’s round, said in a statement to TechCrunch. .. “In this economy, alternatives show better returns than other markets, and Arkive’s model provides a new way to understand how valuable things are the source of value. I believe we will provide it. “

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