Sygnum, a digital asset bank, and Artemundi, an art investment pioneer, have partnered to tokenize Picasso’s Fillette au béret painting. This marks the first time the ownership rights in a Picasso, or any artwork, are being broadcast onto the public blockchain by a regulated bank, enabling investors to purchase and trade “shares” in the artwork called Art Security Tokens (ASTs).
The art market is complex, and often requires deep technical knowledge, personal connections and millions of dollars to enter. Tokenization, which creates digital representations of financial and real assets on the blockchain, enables fractional ownership, lowering financial barriers and democratising access to pieces of art history like Picasso’s Fillette au béret. This innovative technology has the potential to open-up the global art market, worth USD 60 billion annually, to a broad range of new investors.
The tokenization of Fillette au béret represents two additional breakthroughs for the art market. By transforming art into a tradeable, bank-grade security on the blockchain, liquid secondary markets like Sygnum’s SygnEx can directly connect buyers and sellers. This then eliminates the need for intermediaries, reducing transactional costs and bringing much-needed industry transparency. Picassos have a proven track record for continual appreciation in value, and Fillette au béret has been subject to Artemundi’s stringent examination which is based on more than 30 years of experience in art investment.
Issuance of 4,000 tokens through regulated Sygnum Bank
Investors can own a share of Fillette au béret, priced at CHF four million. Tokens can be subscribed directly through Sygnum’s e-banking platform, with a minimum subscription of CHF 5,000. Transactions will be settled in Swiss Francs, using Sygnum’s digital CHF stablecoin (DCHF). All tokens are tradeable on SygnEx, Sygnum’s digital asset trading platform.
As a regulated bank, Sygnum applies a robust legal framework to all token issuances on its platform, while providing a seamless, end-to-end solution – from primary issuance, settlement and custody to secondary trading. As such, the full benefits of a tokenized ecosystem can be realised. Sygnum continues to create new and unique investment opportunities in the verticals of Art & Collectibles, Venture Capital, Mid Cap and Real Estate.
Protected ownership of painting recognised under Swiss law
The significance of this tokenization project also lies in the legal certainty of ownership that the issued tokens provide. The direct ownership in the artwork – not a fund or investment vehicle holding the painting – will be tokenized. These tokens are recognised under Swiss DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) law, with transactions on the blockchain considered legally binding. As such, ownership rights are protected, and investors are able to invest with full confidence.
Javier Lumbreras, Co-Owner and CEO of Artemundi, says, “In my 37 years of collecting art, I never imagined this could happen. Artistic, cultural objects of universal appeal, once reserved for an elite group of collectors or the museums, can now be safely and directly owned without the burden of high entry barriers, such as information, knowledge, connections, and capital. The art market is absurdly opaque and inefficient, but these traits will soon be relics of a bygone age.”
Mathias Imbach, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Sygnum Bank says, “It has been Sygnum’s mission from the start to empower investors with more direct access to ownership and value. The tokenization of the Fillette au béret exemplifies how we bring our mission to reality, unlocking a universe of unique investment opportunities that can be made accessible to many. “