Funding, sovereignty, public: NFTs shake up the codes of the cultural world

@Mika Baumeister

Beyond the speculative side, NFTs, these blockchain-based digital certificates present many opportunities for the cultural world. This is what Godefroy Jordan, President of StartingDot and entrepreneur in the digital sector for 25 years, considers. With its Twineva service, the entrecovery supports cultural institutions, foundations, museums and artists to meet the challenges of political, legal, financial and marketing sovereignty related to NFTs. Interviewed by, he explains how NFTs will shake up the codes of the cultural world.

What is an NFT in the cultural environment?

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Godefroy Jordan, President of StartingDot

An NFT is a digital certificate written on the blockchain that identifies and points to a digital file. The principle is to make a digital copy of a work – or a 3D model in the case of a sculpture for example – issued by the copyright holder of the work. There are millions of images of the Mona Lisa today on the internet and on the smartphones of people who photographed it. These files have no value. On the other hand, if the Louvre Museum decides to create one or more NFTs of the Mona Lisa, this or these will have value. An NFT can contain an image file and a PDF document with the signed certificate of authenticity for example. It may also contain a scientific article by a curator describing the work.

A museum can choose to create a single digital copy, in high definition, or to create 10,000 of lesser definition. He can decide to create a digital twin in another form, such as a hologram for example, or even to create a new work from the original. This is what the Italian artist duo Hackatao did in particular by animating the Bear Head drawn by Leonardo da Vinci. We can also imagine an augmented reality layer on a work. And why not create an NFT that would act as an action in a work placed on deposit in a museum or gallery.

What is the interest of NFT for cultural institutions?

All the masterpieces have already been digitized. I think the subject of NFT is to enter a new phase, adding complementary information to the work. For me, NFTs and the metaverse are creating the same revolution as the Internet. You have to think now about integrating it into your strategy.

I see several interests. By creating and selling NFTs, an institution can solve certain financing problems. It can decide to sell digital twins for private use or to assign the rights temporarily. The institution could rent the use of a work for the metaverse, for example, and thus set foot in these virtual universes. I think it’s also a way to reach new, younger audiences who don’t consume culture. It is possible to build a bridge between digital and its collections in order to rejuvenate the works. Another interest is to market rights more easily. We exchange with a museum that preserves industrial objects and markets their designs in the fashion sector. An NFT could make it possible to sell this pattern in high definition for reuse by a third party. Finally, there is an issue of sovereignty because the platforms that allow the creation of NFTs are mainly American and Chinese.

So your goal is to create a French platform for cultural institutions?

Absolutely, the challenge is to distribute the NFTs of heritage works on websites approved by the Financial Markets Authority (AMF). Today, there is no 100% French trading platform. The main ones are the American OpenSea, the platform specializing in “generative” digital art Art Blocks and the British Foundation. However, museums want to know to whom they are selling NFTs. That’s why we want to provide a layer of authentication. We also want to give the possibility of creating NFTs from proprietary smart contracts adapted to the demands of museums and galleries. Let me explain. Today, the NFTs created on the platforms must enter an imposed format of Smart contracts. For example, some NFTs can only be purchased in Ether on the Ethereum blockchain. We therefore create the NFT first, which can then be stored on the blockchain of the museum’s choice. The Smart contract managing the NFT could determine the time of possession of a work for example and the resale rights on the secondary market. A museum may decide that the buyer cannot resell his NFT for at least one year. Another important point that we are developing is the possibility of being paid in euros, and not in cryptocurrencies. For this, we want to instantly convert cryptocurrency into a stablecoin that copies the value of a currency, such as the euro or the dollar. This allows institutions to avoid the problem of cryptocurrency volatility. We estimate that there are 30 tasks to complete between creating an NFT and reselling it. We support our clients throughout this journey.

Doesn’t the fact of transforming a work pose problems of integrity?

I think that two types of NFT will exist, the simple digital copy and the work augmented by an artistic layer. A layer of contemporary art can also be added to a work. Indeed, this can pose problems of admissibility, some may think that it alters the original work. The main thing is to keep the meaning of the work. In all cases, authorization from the holder will be essential. After all, this is not so contradictory with what may have happened in the history of art before. Marcel Duchamp added a mustache to the Mona Lisa in 1919. It is not because we are talking about digital that it should be less acceptable.

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Funding, sovereignty, public: NFTs shake up the codes of the cultural world

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