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Established Art Organizations are Needed to Tame the Wild Wild NFT West

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“Ask not what NFTs can do for you, but what you can do for NFTs”

When we talk to established art organizations about NFTs we get varying perspectives. Some think it’s a passing (and energy wasting) fad that will add nothing of value to traditional art.  Others are intrigued, but are in a “wait and see” mode.  A few have fully embraced NFTs as the next revolution in art.

In a way they are all justified.  Yes, there are a lot of red flags with NFTs today (energy consumption, fraud, questionable value, irrational exuberance). Yes, the technology has huge potential for art (fractional ownership, secondary sales commissions, ownership tracking just to name a few).  What’s overlooked is how much value established art organizations can bring to the NFT market right now.  In fact the NFT market, especially in an environment of softening prices, needs the establishment to realize its potential.

Why? NFTs have a trust issue.  When we talk to collectors, many are hesitant to make purchases because they don’t trust what they are seeing.  Is this NFT a forgery? Is the promoter of this drop just trying to make a quick buck?  Some seasoned NFT buyers address these concerns by spending hours in community chat rooms and other venues trying to discern the staying power of an NFT project.  There is a better way.

Established art organizations can fill the NFT trust gap.  Art organizations such as galleries have been evaluating artistic staying power for hundreds of years.  As a result, art collectors have trusted these organizations with their purchases for hundreds of years.  Artists that are under the umbrella of these organizations even look to them for guidance with their creative practices.  For example, Chinese Culture Center curator Hoi Leung worked with artist Heesoo Kwon on her first NFTs (in this case memorializing the Roland Lowe Community Bridge before its destruction) and CCC exhibition manager Yuanyuan Zhu walked Heesoo through the process of setting up a hardware wallet for minting NFTs. As CCC offers this service to all its artists, it will add highly trusted NFTs to the world inventory.

Artist Heesoo Kwon after minting her NFTs with the help of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

There are thousands of organizations worldwide, both big and small, that already bring value to their art communities by being a trust bridge between artists, collectors, and the rest of the general public.  Museums, galleries, art schools, and community organizations like CCC have long-standing relationships with thousands of artists, many of whom are trying to decide how to enter the world of NFTs.  Wivity Root of Provenance gives these organizations a ready-made process, rooted in cybersecurity best-practices, to aid these artists in their NFT initiation.  Specifically, Root of Provenance enables art organizations to:

  • Leverage long-standing relationships to verify the identity of the artist
  • Help artists through the process of creating a secure wallet for minting NFTs
  • Attest to the security of an artist’s NFTs
  • Endorse an artist’s NFTs, which is valued by collectors.

These are highly impactful services.  In Heesoo Kwon’s own words- “It was really amazing to have some assistance from [an] expert.  I really appreciate the [in-person] step-by-step guidance”.

Admittedly it takes a bit of time for art organizations to educate themselves on NFTs, hardware wallets, blockchain accounts, and gas fees, and it takes time to get assessed by an authorized Root of Provenance assessor. Yuanyuan Zhu estimates it took her 5 hours to get up to speed on Root of Provenance and the assessment process took another two hours.  However, if art organizations want a role in the NFT economy these learnings are a must regardless of whether they support Root of Provenance.

If you are an art organization and would like to become a verifier for your collaborators, please contact us to learn more, receive documentation, and get assessed.  Artists and collectors alike will thank you!

Alfred Tom

Alfred Tom is co-founder/CEO of Wivity and president of Lumian Foundation. He also serves on the board of, an internationally-acclaimed Warhol/Bloomberg-funded contemporary art organization in San Francisco.