In a pioneering move within Russia’s art and technology sector, the first NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) based on artworks have been successfully sold. This milestone was achieved through the “Digital Art” pilot project, a collaborative effort by the State Hermitage Museum, Interros, and the Atomyze platform. The art tokens were designed in full compliance with the “Digital Financial Assets” law, providing investors with rights to monetary claims and the use of intellectual property.
According to Mikhail Piotrovsky, the General Director of the State Hermitage Museum, art tokens represent a new form of digital reproduction. He highlighted their unique dual nature: firstly, for securing rights exclusively for the buyer and the museum, and secondly, for capturing a unique, non-recurring state of the artwork during restoration.
The “Digital Art” project tokenized three frescoes from Raphael’s school in the Hermitage collection, each divided into 20 tokens. Buyers had the option to purchase the entire lot or select individual tokens. The first 20 tokens, representing the fresco “Venus and Cupid on Dolphins,” were sold immediately after the project’s presentation at the Eastern Economic Forum, attracting Russian private buyers. The fresco “Venus Extracting a Thorn” was entirely acquired by collectors from a South Korean art group specializing in global culture brand exhibitions. Another masterpiece, “Venus and Adonis,” was purchased by the president of Nornickel, Vladimir Potanin, and donated to the Hermitage.
The proceeds from the project, exceeding 4.5 million rubles, will be allocated by the Hermitage for the restoration of Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Venus and Cupid.”
This successful venture into digital tokens, not only for artworks but also for platinum group metals by Nornickel’s subsidiary GP Investments, showcases the growing market demand for innovative products presented in a digital format. Such projects are expanding the range of new niches in the digital financial assets market, offering investors diverse options to reconsider their investment portfolio compositions.