Real-World Applications of Cryptocurrencies  in the Art & Collectibles Asset Class

By: Ermos Kyriakides

Unique Asset Registry — Codex Protocol


Art, fine wine, collectible cars, music instruments, jewelry, and much more comprise A&C. Over the past few years, A&C has become so big, that Deloitte is considering it as an asset class . It’s: “a group of securities that exhibits similar characteristics, behaves similarly in the marketplace and is subject to the same laws and regulations”.

Additionally, it’s an asset class in which high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) currently allocate an average of 6% of their portfolios. Deloitte’s 2017 Art & Finance Report estimated this asset class to be worth $2 trillion. It is also projecting growth of $0.7 trillion by 2026 with an estimated$620 billion of annual transactions.

The Problem

Firstly, despite the size and growth of the market, there is one massive issue. The issue is the lack of a title registry. So, this comes down to lacking two things:

  • Provenance — This is the history of ownership and associated documentation of a particular object. It’s what drives the monetary value of an object as it indicates whether it’s authentic or not. Essentially, proving an object’s authenticity is a long often manual and hard process. It requires analyzing a lot of paperwork and is often inconclusive. Without proper provenance, fraud, fakes and forgeries become very prevalent. There is an estimate of over $6 billion are lost annually. There are numerous recently examples of fraud. For example, John Re scamming art buyers out of $2.5 million over nine years for fake Jackson Pollock (and more) artwork.
  • Metadata —Is information related to an object such as photographs, past appraisals, receipts, restoration records, etc. The A&C space is plagued with a lack of comprehensive, secure, easily accessible metadata. Metadata are vital to ‘unlock the value’ of collectibles as the provision of services relies heavily on this. For example, a buyer may want to know what kind of damage a collectible car had in the past or whether there have been any modifications.

Provenance and metadata, are very hard to achieve, transparently and securely, using current technology. Of course, there are some centralized registries that provide provenance. However, neither collectors nor intermediaries will ever fully trust a centralized registry.

So, these issues inhibit buying and selling with ease of mind. Additionally, securing and insuring collectibles becomes more complicated. So, it makes forgeries and fraudulent behavior easier.

The Proposal

Secondly, enter the Codex Protocol. The asset registry tailored for A&C objects is the Codes Protocol. It preserves all information about a piece. Additionally, the information includes evidence of ownership and other metadata.

The Codex team is building a protocol that will revolutionize A&C by creating a decentralized title registry for them. In addition, they are also creating a decentralized consortium of experts to validate authenticity. The Codex Protocol will track an object’s history of ownership through a neutral and decentralized verification”. The protocol will also have the ability to securely store metadata about objects whilst also making them easily accessible (if required). All in all, Codex is bringing provenance onto the blockchain — a match made in heaven.

A consortium of 5,000 auction houses backs the Codex Protocol. They also trusted industry stakeholders thus putting it in pole position for adoption and becoming a standard. Since they are building a protocol, it will provide others to build decentralized applications on top of it. Lastly, Codex itself has already launched Biddable.

How It Works

Thirdly, the centerpiece to the Codex Protocol is the Codex Record. A Codex Record contains provenance details and other metadata for a particular object and is created when an object is loaded onto Codex.

Before loading an object onto Codex, all associated information needs to be verified by validators (these include appraisers, auction houses specialists, dealers, gallerists, etc.). Validators need to confirm that the information provided by them is correct if an object is loaded by end-users. They need to research and load this information themselves. In order to ensure the integrity of the system, validators will be rewarded in a very similar fashion to how they are today.

The validators will be selected on a discretionary basis. The Codex teams expect that in the future rewards will be “algorithmically distributed along with a reputation system that scores end-users who have expertise”.

To illustrate how the Codex Protocol works, I will walk through a simple example below:

  • Alice loads her artwork, Lona Misa, onto Codex. Since Lona Misa is getting loaded onto Codex for the first time, any associated information needs to be verified by validators.
  • Validators also confirm the authenticity of Lona Misa and successfully gets loaded onto Codex.
  • Alice then wishes to anonymously sell Lona Misa to Bob. Since all information on Lona Misa is recorded in a Codex Record, Alice has the ability to delegate view permissions to the Bob to view the information attached to the Record.
  • Despite the fact that Alice chose to remain anonymous, Bob can be certain that the Lona Misa is genuine due to the proper provenance provided by the protocol.
  • Once the sale is complete, Bob will now be registered as the new Lona Misa owner.

The Solution

So, the Codex has placed itself in a prime position to solve the issues discussed above. In addition, they improved upon them by becoming a decentralized asset registry tailored for A&C objects. It will do so by providing Proper Provenance & Secure & Accessible Metadata. By leveraging the advantages of the blockchain and smart contracts, the identity of the object, its path of ownership, authenticity, and related data will always be secure, immutable, guaranteed, verifiable, accessible, and transparent.

History of Ownership

Having proper provenance in place with the addition of secure and accessible metadata will bring a host of benefits, including:

  • Anonymity —  Ownership of A&Cs can now be proven, without compromising privacy
  • Better Services — Applications and Services (asset-backed lending, bidding, escrow, insurance, etc.) will have greater confidence serving their customers.
  • Greater Accessibility — This is particularly geared towards newly created wealthy holders of cryptocurrencies. They will now have the opportunity to diversify into an asset class that provides an uncorrelated, appreciating and private store of value.
  • Greater Market Size — By having a widely adopted registry which brings a host of benefits, will help grow the A&C space “by hundreds of billions of dollars” and “could increase the value of the asset class by over $1 Trillion”.
  • No Middlemen — The Codex Protocol will eliminate the costly middlemen and the risk and suspicion that sometimes comes when centralized single entities hold information. This will inherently reduce transaction costs as well.
  • Reduced Fraud — This is pretty obvious but the number of frauds, forgeries and fakes will be dramatically reduced as provenance will now be secure, accessible and transparent.

How Are CodexCoin (CODX) Tokens Used?

Lastly, the CodexCoin is a token used to access the protocol. Users, or applications on their behalf, will pay fees in the form of CodexCoin to create, update, and transfer Codex Records. These fees will be used to provide rewards.

The CodexCoin (CODX) is used to access the Codex Protocol. It has a multitude of uses, including:

  • Paying fees for creating, updating and transferring Codex Records. These fees will be discounted depending on how many CODX an application (built on top of the Codex Protocol) stakes and for how long.
  • Rewarding validators for their verification work and penalizing them if proper behavior is not followed.
  • Providing a mechanism for an on-chain voting scheme, meaning that token holders will be able to govern the decentralized system.

But, the Codex Protocol has not launched its token yet. You can only purchase CodexCoins (CODX) during their Initial Coin Offering (ICO). It’s dated for the end of July. You can find more information about their token sale and sign-up for their ICO, here.

By our friend Ermos Kyriakides. You can follow his Blog at and on Twitter at

Link to original blog here.

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