Investing in art, bit by bit

Updated: 2014-07-08 10:22

By LI ANG in New York (China Daily USA)

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Buying and selling art — which has the potential to make unheard of leaps in value — has long been the dream of well-heeled investors. But the barriers to getting into the game are formidable. What to buy? Who to buy? How much to spend? When to sell?

A new service unveiled in New York on Monday has put a digital-age spin on a pursuit formerly reserved for Medicis and museums.

The International Cultural and Art Property Enterprise on Monday announced the launch of the first fractional art-trading platform in the US.

Developed by Fundamental Interactions, the same group that designed and operates the Bitcoin trading system, the platform allows owners to liquidate and sell either all or partial shares of artworks to the public. Investors and collectors can buy, trade and sell these fractional art units through ICAPE.

"We are eager to introduce ICAPE's trading concept among revered artists and collectors at the first Sino-US cultural exchange," said John F. Wallace, chairman of ICAPE. "Our model was built with the goal of completely changing the business by giving smaller investors the opportunity to participate in a marketplace and allowing individuals and institutions the ability to raise capital without transferring ownership."

"The International Cultural and Art Property Exchange will be a revolutionary way to own and sell art, ceramics and other artifacts," said ICAPE CEO James J. Bloom.

"You will be able to trade art in fractions on your phone, on your apps, on your Android, just as we trade stocks and foreign currencies," Wallace said. "Fractional art is a new concept here in the US."

ICAPE, a finance firm founded in 2012, is managed by exchange chairmen, entrepreneurs, securities professionals and legal professionals, some of whom were executives with the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As part of the launch of ICAPE's fractional art trading platform, the first Sino-US Culture and Art Exchange Exhibition Chinese Dream, World Peace will be presented at the Westin New York on Times Square from July 10-14.

The exhibition is the largest Chinese art fair in New York. More than 380 art works from more than 20 artists will be exhibited, including work by well-known Chinese artists Zeng Fan and Gong Qi.

One of the sponsors of the exhibition, Chinese Ambassador Gift Products Editorial Committee, was established and operated by China Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Center with the goal of promoting China's traditional culture and art and facilitate the art exchange network.

Throughout the exhibition, ICAPE's electronic art trading system devices will be demonstrated for attendees.

"This is a big venture for here," said Wallace.

Contact the writer at readers@chinadaily.com.cn

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