Interview with Marcelo García Casil, the CEO of Maecenas; A Blockchain Powered Art Investment Platform Without Intermediaries

Marcelo García Casil is the CEO of Maecenas, a blockchain art gallery disrupting the fine arts industry. Maecenas gives everyone the opportunity to participate in blockchain-based auctions of fine art, a new online marketplace that promises to give art lovers the chance to buy shares in famous paintings.

1) Please tell us your name and about yourself?

I’m Marcelo García Casil, the founder and current CEO of Maecenas. My background is in financial technology. I’ve worked within the banking industry for over 15 years, designing and building financial software. About almost 5 years ago, and after learning about blockchain, I decided to found a start-up company to apply the technology to capital markets. After a number of iterations and pivots, I ended up creating Maecenas.

2) What is Maecenas ?

Maecenas is a decentralised art gallery, democratising access to fine art investment. Maecenas tokenises fine art by creating blockchain-based digital shares giving investors the possibility to own fractions of masterpieces and build fine art portfolios. Maecenas aims to be to fine art what NASDAQ is to shares.

3) What inspired you to start the Maecenas Art project and what problems are you looking to solve.

Investing in Fine Art has always been beyond the reach of most people. The opaque world of auction houses and banks, which allows them to charge exorbitant fees has increased the transaction costs and cut off fine art investment from efficient modern markets. The direct implications of these high costs is that many transactions in the art market never occur, and a large number of interested investors never participate. As a result, investment in fine art can only happen in the form of physical ownership and transaction fees range from 10 to 25% to both sellers and buyers.  The latter comes from a lack of transparency which blockchain technology could solve.

With the art market moving from a small niche market towards a global industry, the need for a new and more efficient investment platform gets imperative, which is what motivated us to create Maecenas.

4) Please tell us more about the team behind Maecenas ?

I founded the company more than four years ago alongside Federico Cardoso, our CTO. Together, we designed and built the technology that now underpins Maecenas. As the project started growing, we managed to attract talented people from different industries to join our mission to democratise the art market. What started as a small tech team, has now grown into a diverse team of 25 people spanning three continents having expertise in key fields such as legal, compliance, finance, art and marketing.

5) Could you give us a structural analysis of the major Services you provide at Maecenas?

Maecenas leverages blockchain technology to fully democratise access to fine art investment. By tokenising art, the platform converts million-dollar blue-chip artworks into smaller financial units that can be bought and sold easily globally through a transparent marketplace. This provides investors with liquidity and a much-needed market-driven price discovery mechanism.

6) What is the market size of the Fine Art Market and which countries have the highest number of artists?

There is an estimated 3 trillion dollars worth of art in safe storage, with about $60 billion being traded annually. The top cities in terms of trading volume are New York, Shanghai, London and Paris.

7) Please tell us more about the Maecenas open blockchain platform, do you have any major Gallery or artists interested in your platform?

We are at the very beginning of our journey. We launched our beta three months ago and last month we closed our first auction where we raised $1.7m dollars for 30% of a work by Andy Warhol.

8) At what stage of development is the Maecenas platform and what is next on your roadmap?

Our beta platform is live, and we’re looking to add more artworks over the coming months. We are also working on launching an exchange to allow investors to trade their artwork shares.

9) Do you have any investment opportunities you will like to share with us from Maecenas?

We share our investment opportunities with investors who sign up to our platform and successfully pass our compliance checks. We invite everyone to sign up if they’re interested to learn more.

10) How Safe is Maecenas crypto token , would you like to talk about your legal measures and security of investments?

Our token in known under the code “ART” and was created in the Ethereum network and is ERC20 compliant, which is a standard for fungible tokens under the Ethereum protocol.

Cryptocurrencies are used in our platform as a means of payment for the percentage ownership users bid for during our live auctions. Once bids are placed by investors, we then covert their cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin and Ethereum in our initial case) into ART Tokens to guarantee the functioning of the Smart Contracts governing the auction as well as the settlement of the transaction in the event that the bid is a winning bid.

Client funds are held in our multi-signature escrow accounts, which follow stringent treasury security protocols.

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