SAN FRANCISCO — Arkive has launched out of stealth to create a community of everyday people who want to curate, own and create culture by opening access to the most exclusive asset class ever created: museums.
The company has raised $9.7 million in funding led by Offline and TCG Crypto with participation from NFX, Freestyle Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Not Boring Capital, Precursor, Chainforest, Coil, Julia Lipton, Joe McCann, Chris Cantino, Marty Bell, Paul Veradittakit and many others.
Historically, museums have relied on curators, collectors and investors to decide what art is significant and worthy of display. But what’s shown in an exhibit is just a small portion of an institution’s collection and millions of items are locked into private collections owned by the 1%. With Arkive’s down-up model, for the first time, anyone can now be part of defining history, deciding what’s worthy of being preserved and what should be on display.
“Arkive is an entirely new down-up model where everyday people are part of curating the collection and defining an item’s artistic historical relevance and place in culture,” said Tom McLeod, founder of Arkive. “When we set out, we asked, ‘What if the Smithsonian was owned and curated by the Internet?’ and that’s what led us to launch Arkive. We are hell-bent on building a vibrant community that’s part of defining historical significance.”
As a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), Arkive’s collections are curated by its members, who vote on which items they want to acquire. Eventually, these items will be transferred to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that replace, store, and manage all historical provenance, authentication, quality, and condition on blockchain. Additionally, anyone will be able to verify the item in existing public places like museums and galleries.
The community has already voted on and acquired the patent for the ENIAC. Invented in 1946, the patent for the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the world’s first programmable, electronic, general-purpose computer. The patent will go on display via an Arkive traveling exhibition in late 2022 before entering into long-term residency at a prominent computing history museum, as selected by the Arkive membership. The patent for the ENIAC was considered alongside the Burton BB1 Londonderry Snowboard Prototype, built by Jake Burton himself in a Vermont barn.
“This is not a museum in the metaverse filled with expensive digital images of expensive monkeys and NFTs,” said Nate Bosshard, partner at Offline Ventures. “In this economy, alternatives are showing better returns than the rest of the market and we believe that Arkive’s model presents a new way to appreciate how things of value are becoming sources of value.”