Galloire, MidChains in Cryptocurrency Agreement for Selling Artworks Worldwide
Galloire is located at London Street, City Walk, Dubai.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features writer
Galloire, the innovative contemporary gallery at London Street, City Walk, Dubai, has signed a landmark agreement with Abu Dhabi’s MidChains to become the first major gallery in the Middle East to accept cryptocurrency for physical or digital art. It joins a list of major international galleries such as Pace, Lehmann Maupin and more recently Gagosian accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDC for the sale of artworks worldwide.
“The gallery continues to advance the use of technology to enable collectors to connect with their artists and their work,” says founder Edward Gallagher of the gallery and the principles behind the move.
“We strongly believe in the use of technology to bring art to the widest possible audience; So, through the use of photorealistic VR and AR, you’ve already seen how we’ve made exhibitions by world-renowned artists accessible to tens of thousands more people than the gallery could ever have done.
“We want more people to connect with contemporary art and also believe in an egalitarian approach to how people want to pay for this art.
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“Why would we force a crypto-native person to pay in traditional (fiat) currency to purchase a beautiful painting and vice versa? Why would a traditional collector who wants to venture into NFTs have to pay in cryptocurrency just to get access to digital art they fall in love with?”
In recent years, the UAE has emerged as a premier home for blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and investors, with new laws making it easier for large corporations to establish themselves in the country.
The country is also no stranger to major crypto-rich art acquisitions, as Sacha Jafri’s record-breaking artwork (the largest canvas painting in history) was sold to French crypto businessman Andre Abdoune for $62 million last year.
Jafri (born 1977) is a British contemporary artist known for creating the world’s largest painting on canvas, Journey of Humanity (as listed in the Guinness Book of the records recognized).
It sold at auction in Dubai for 228 million dirhams ($62 million), the fourth highest auction price ever paid for a work of art by a living artist, behind Jeff Koons Rabbit ($91.1 million) and David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (two-number pool) $90 million and Beeple’s Everydays: the First 5000 Days ($69.3).
The painting measures over 17,000 square feet and includes the artworks of children from more than 140 nations. Jafri donates the proceeds from sales to children’s charities. Abdoune is of Algerian origin and lives between Paris and Dubai. He made his fortune trading stocks before buying industrial conglomerate Altius Gestion International Holding and entering cryptocurrency trading.
One of the leaders in cryptocurrency and broader virtual asset trading that thrived during this period is MidChains. Led by CEO Basil Al Askari and co-founder Mohamed Al Hashemi, the company has garnered support from global (e.g. MIAX) and regional (e.g. Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, ADQ) heavyweights.
Al Askari said: “We are a company that prides itself on innovation and the ability to offer secure and regulated opportunities for cryptocurrency transactions and investments; So, working with Galloire to give collectors the opportunity to invest in art using their favorite cryptocurrency made perfect sense to us.
“Enabling people to securely pay for a physical asset with a digital asset, especially something as impactful as art, is a huge step forward in the UAE and we’ve been able to push that forward today, not months or years from now. “
Gallagher added, “We are very proud to partner with MidChains to facilitate this next step in payment technology. “Many companies in the UAE offer to help explore this space or facilitate cryptocurrency payments – but most are not properly licensed to do so.
“MidChains is fully licensed by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to deliver on their promise and we are delighted to have them as our partner.” MidChains and Galloire also confirmed, that systems to accept cryptocurrency payments were up and running in time for the recently closed exhibition of rising Hong Kong art star Carla Chan.
By changing the way people trade, MidChains seeks to democratize new ways of acquiring and holding wealth, with the transparency and regulation that make it safe for all. Backed by reputable regional and international investors including Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), MIAX Exchange Group and DisruptAD, (ADQs) venture platform, it is a fully licensed multilateral trading facility and virtual asset custodian based in the United Arab Emirates that is built and operated by a new generation of experienced financial service providers.
MidChains acts as a key entry point for virtual/crypto assets, empowering retail investors and connecting global institutions to the region. Galloire is a leading contemporary gallery collaborating with established and emerging artists from around the world who, regardless of medium, are pushing the boundaries of culture, thinking and exploring our digitally dominated society.
With an eclectic spectrum, it showcases artists whose roots range from urban art to classically trained painting, from the world viewed through the lens to the data that surrounds us. The gallery is also characterized by a strong interest in how visual arts work in conjunction with other forms such as poetry, philosophy and science.