- Project name: Maecenas
- Token symbol: ART
- Website: https://www.maecenas.co/
- Whitepaper: https://www.maecenas.co/Maecenas-WhitePaper.pdf
- Hard cap: US$20 million (ICO contributors own 30% of total token supply if hard cap is reached)
- Soft Cap: US$3 million
- Conversion rate: Total of 1 billion ART will be created
- Maximum market cap at ICO: US$67 million if hard cap is reached
- Bonus structure: No bonus
- Pre-sale / white list available: Maecenas is a cofound.it project, so by having a cofound.it priority pass, you can have priority access to the ICO before the public. More information here.
- ERC20 token: Yes
- Timeline: September 5th at 5PM CEST and public crowdsale on September 7th at 5PM CEST (please refer to Maecenas’ website for most up-to-date information)
- Token distribution date: Immediately after contribution but they will be locked in until one week after the end of ICO
Watch our video summary (video is 7:58 long)
What does the company/project do?
Maecenas is creating a decentralized art gallery, which is a blockchain-driven platform where shares of fine art are bought and sold.
Currently, only the rich can invest in expensive artwork because the price is high and it is difficult to obtain financing for the purchase.
On the platform, Maecenas divides artworks into fragments and users can invest and trade those shares. Users can now own a fragment of an artwork, whereas in the past they could not afford the whole painting or sculpture.
Users on the platform can also trade the shares between each other to create a liquid secondary market for those artworks. With Maecenas, artworks can be traded like stocks.
Currently, the artwork trading industry is inefficient. It is an old-fashioned, illiquid and often opaque market. Galleries typically go through a few reputable auction houses that charge huge fees — up to 25 percent. In contrast, Maecenas charges a flat fee of 2-6% for monetizing the artwork.
The tokens on the Maecenas platform represent legal ownership of the artwork by creating a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that owns the artwork. The linkage between tokens and ownership in the SPV is defined in the constitution of the company. This way, users can obtain legal rights of the artwork by obtaining tokens.
Since there is a cost associating with creating the SPV and sorting out the legal ownership, Maecenas will only list artworks with a minimal value of $500,000 and up to several million. Initially, Maecenas will mainly focus on Fine Art (paintings, sculptures, drawings) from the period 1840–1990.
Fractional owners cannot enjoy the artwork because it is not physically with the owners. However, there will be a leasing fee so that the investors are paid for use of the artwork in the gallery. The leasing fee is typically 2-3%, but it depends heavily on the type of artwork, the type of exhibition, etc.
Below is a flowchart of getting a piece of artwork listed and traded on the Maecenas platform:
How advanced is the project?
The founding team members were working on another idea (DXMarkets) back in 2014. Below is the timeline of some of the milestone achieved by the team:
- October 2015 – the founding team was selected to join Fintech Fusion acceleration program in Geneva and the idea of Maecenas was conceived in the program.
- November 2016 – the first prototype of Maecenas was completed.
- February 2017 – investment from Polytech Ventures was secured.
- April 2017 – MVP for the Maecenas platform was completed.
- May 2017 – over 30 artworks in pipeline worth over $100 million lined up. Works by Rubens, Goya, Picasso, Pissarro, Braque, Chu Teh Chun, etc. have been proposed to the team.
You can watch the sneak peak of the Maecenas MVP here (video is 1:24 long):
Here are some of the business processes that the team is planning to implement in the future:
- Artwork leasing services.
- Asset-backed loans using paintings or sculptures as collateral.
- Creation of art funds linked to collections.
- Trading of art indices tracking specific types of art, blue-chip artists, periods, regions, etc.
What are the tokens used for and how can token holders make money?
ART token is a utility token that is used to settle transactions on the platform.
In order to purchase fractional ownership of artworks on the platform, ART tokens are needed. As such, the more economic activity the Maecenas platform has, the more valuable ART tokens should be.
The team has 8 members, with the core members having worked together in the DXMarkets project.
Below are the bio of the core team members:
Marcelo Garcia Casil, Co-Founder & CEO – Serial entrepreneur. Previously worked at Barclays Investment Bank, National Australia Bank, Credit Suisse, and Jefferies International.
Jérôme Croisier, Chief Art Officer – Guest Lecturer for the Executive Master in Art Market Studies at University of Zurich. Previously worked at different art consultancies.
Miguel Neumann, Founding Partner – Serial entrepreneur. Previously worked at JPMorgan, Trueform Group, and Wellspace.
The project has a long line of advisors, including Guillaume Dubray, Partner of Polytech Ventures, Tom Ludescher, CEO of Helvetica Swiss Insurance, and Luis Pastor, Partner of Grant Thornton.
- The artwork trading industry is large ($3 trillion in value with $65 billion worth of arts being traded each year) but is still considered a niche market. It is also very old-fashioned and inefficient, so it is ripe for disruption.
- Maecenas is one of the first cofound.it projects and went through the rigorous vetting process employed by cofound.it.
- Other than artworks, there is potential for Maecenas to expand into other physical assets including antiques, classic cars, gemstones, vintage liquors, and rarities.
- Network effect is present. The more people use the platform, the more valuable the platform is (more liquidity, more selection of artworks).
- If Maecenas is able to secure partnership with museums / galleries, then it can increase the value of all the artworks on the Maecenas platform substantially.
- Part of the value of a piece of artwork is the ability to enjoy it. Rich people buy expensive artworks partially for the bragging right. With Maecenas, users cannot enjoy the artwork – hang on the wall, see it, touch it physically.
- Liquidity for the individual artwork can be an issue. Let’s say you have invested in a painting. If the liquidity for that painting is very thin, it would be hard for you to convert the investment back to ART.
- According to LinkedIn, certain team members, including the CEO and CTO, are still working at DXMarkets. It is unclear how they will allocate their time between the two projects.
Overall, I am neutral about the ICO’s flipping potential but like its long-term potential. With Maecenas, normal people can own an art portfolio by Picasso, Monet, Basquiat, etc.
My thoughts on buying the tokens for flipping and investing for the long term are as follows:
Neutral. The project hasn’t generated a lot of awareness in the crypto market yet. It may not be easy for the project to reach its hard cap of $20 million.
For long-term holding
Good. Maecenas has an innovative business model that is years in the making. More than $100 million worth of artwork is on the pipeline to be tokenized on the Maecenas platform.
If Maecenas becomes a success, I am not surprised if the value of all the artworks on Maecenas is in the billions. The fine arts industry is huge and Maecenas has little competition in this field.
I would consider Maecenas to be a high-risk high-return play.
For more information about the ICO, please visit the following links:
Maecenas blog: https://medium.com/maecenas
Below is an infographic created by Maecenas showing the 10 benefits of using the Maecenas platform.