From Rolex to Picasso, luxury goods and art have reached unprecedented popularity in recent times. As of 2022, the global art market is estimated to be worth over $67 billion, with the luxury goods market being valued as high as $350 billion. However, unfortunately for brands, artists, and consumers, questions of authenticity and provenance have never been more pertinent.
In fact, some sources estimate that the fashion industry alone has lost a whopping $47 billion dollars to fake products in 2020. In the art space, various observers further noted that counterfeit art not only impacts the market value of artworks but also significantly erodes trust while also diminishing the historical significance of pieces. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
By combining the power of AI and blockchain, the Swiss startup SmartStamp has developed a new solution that enables artists and collectors to authenticate and verify artworks and luxury goods such as watches with nothing but a smartphone and its cutting-edge mobile app.
Founded by Juli Cho Bailer and her business partner, Friedrich Kisters, SmartStamp aims to bring secure object authentication and identification to the art market. The AI-powered technology enables artists, galleries, and collectors to create digital fingerprints of artworks and various types of objects through industrial cameras or smartphones. These fingerprints can be included in certificates of authenticity and shared with authorized persons.
The heart of SmartStamp is its state-of-the-art mobile application, which not only enables users to scan objects and create digital fingerprints but also to create timestamps for these photos and videos on the blockchain. By storing this critical information on an immutable public ledger, like blockchain technology, stakeholders can receive irrefutable proof of authenticity for their objects.
“We are the very tool you need to create verifiable art,” says Friedrich Kisters, co-founder of SmartStamp. “SmartStamp is an investment in the future. Once your works of art will become scarce and valuable, fakes may appear that have a negative impact on your art’s value. No one would want this to happen and yet it happens all the time. Thanks to our innovative solution, everyone with a macro-enabled smartphone, like the iPhone 13pro and 14pro, can start to create digitally verifiable footprints of high-value objects,” he concludes.
The application also provides additional options to manage verified objects. For example, artists can choose if only they, or also others, such a collectors or a specific community, are allowed to verify their art. This way SmartStamp offers added value to everyone collecting an artist’s works as well.
Notably, SmartStamp isn’t operating in a vacuum. It joins an array of emerging technologies like NFTs and RFID in pushing the boundaries of art verification. For example, a recent collaboration with Post Liechtenstein for their Stamp 4.0 project involved the creation of a SmartStamp fingerprint for physical postage stamps.
Furthermore, the project’s 2023 upgrade to “Stamp 4.1” saw the national postal service reignite its collaboration with SmartStamp, as well as globally-recognized artist Romero Britto, to release segments of an original Britto painting as a physical-digital NFT stamp combination.
As Roland Seger, CEO of Post Liechtenstein puts it, “Liechtenstein has a well-established blockchain community which has supported us from the start. For our collectors, we were able to connect generations, for example when older collectors gain more NFT knowledge through the help of their younger, more tech-savvy grandchildren.”
“Stamp collectors are rarely young people these days,” Kisters adds. “We decided together with Post Liechtenstein to link physical stamps to digital surprises and create an individual data room for every single stamp. This emotional experience can only be accessed through the physical stamp. The door is a secure QR Code (SQR), which cannot be faked. It is an amazing bridge between the physical and digital and led to many young stamp collectors. We are very glad to help preserve the stamp as a great cultural heritage.”
In the future, the startup plans to expand its technology to include additional features ranging from condition reporting to securing VIP cargo shipments. Unlike RFID chips or QR codes, which can be removed or damaged from the objects they are set to verify, SmartStamp’s full-on digital solution is not only tamperproof but also doesn’t come with an expiration date – making it highly suitable to secure physical supply chains. In any case, SmartStamp’s out-of-the-box solutions offer a rare glimpse into the future of object authentication and supply chain management.