Marina del Rey-based startup Cosmic Wire, which works with content creators to monetize intellectual property using blockchain technology, is making a foray into the international art world with the purchase of Dubai-based ArtsGalore.
Cosmic Wire announced the $31.5 million acquisition March 28. As part of the deal, ArtsGalore founder Mohamedali Rashid will join Cosmic Wire as chief revenue officer and will lead a new office for the company in Dubai.
Cosmic Wire Chief Executive Jerad Finck said the acquisition was the product of a collaboration between the companies on a “fine art NFT experience” to bring works of physical art into the digital space and vice versa.
“(Rashid) had this vision of creating hybrid galleries with physical art and augmented reality, virtual reality and NFTs,” said Finck.
Cosmic Wire had already experimented with a similar concept at a gallery in Maui which included projections of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, displayed with physical art.
“Our visions were really aligned,” said Finck. “We were already going to build these installations and then we found someone who was doing the same thing we were doing.”
NFTs are digital assets which, like cryptocurrencies, are traded on digital ledgers called blockchains. Unlike units of cryptocurrency, however, NFTs are not fungible, or easily exchangeable. Advocates of the technology say records of sales and trades maintained by the blockchain give them a quality of rarity or authenticity previously impossible to offer in the virtual world.
As the technology has gained in popularity in recent years, it has attracted plenty of interest and speculation from the art world and the entertainment industry as a means of monetizing digital creations.
Finck, who is also a musician and producer, said Cosmic Wire is focused not just on fine art but on music, video and other forms of creative content which can be bought and traded on a blockchain. The company works with creators to license intellectual property and to create revenue opportunities through popular blockchains like NFT marketplace OpenSea.
“If you bring something to us, we take care of everything,” said Finck. “We build your assets, we build the smart contracts, we build the NFTs.”
Not only can blockchains serve as the backbone of NFT sales, said Finck, they can also be used to better track use and reuse of intellectual property – more efficiently managing residuals and royalties for artists and content creators.