Blockchain renaissance: How tech is creating a new era of art

13 Feb 2019

Malo Girod de l’Ain. Image: Monart

Paris-based entrepreneur Malo Girod de l’Ain tells us how Monart aims to disrupt the art industry with a range of new technologies.

Malo Girod de l’Ain is the co-founder and president of Monart, a Paris start-up that aims to use blockchain and security token infrastructure to make the artworks market more secure.

It is also creating online experiences in 3D, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), enabling art enthusiasts to explore exhibitions and artworks in a new way.

A serial entrepreneur, Girod de l’Ain co-founded Digitalarti and M21, building up his experience in the publishing, entertainment and digital art production industries.

Last October, Monart won Best ICO Project of the Year at the ICO Awards in Paris. It recently presented at London Blockchain Week 2019, running from 8 to 14 February.

Describe your role and what you do.

We are two co-founders; we decide jointly all important strategic decisions. Pauline focuses more on the company fundraising, international relationships and Asian developments. I focus on the company development and management.

How do you prioritise and organise your working life?

As an entrepreneur launching a very ambitious project, you have to organise well. In my student years, I played a lot of Go, the Chinese board game, and achieved a fairly decent amateur level. What I did not know at the time was that it is a fantastic strategy and multi-decision teaching tool, very close to the entrepreneur life!

I always try to keep in mind and prioritise the hundreds of issues Monart is facing at all times. I do not pretend to be perfect at it but I am trying.

What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?

An art gallery’s work has not evolved much in a hundred years. At Monart we plan to disrupt the art industry, a $63bn-a-year market.

Monart reinvents the art world two ways: developing many art innovations to create new art experiences, and proposing new business models to tokenise artworks.

What are the key sector opportunities youre capitalising on?

We are capitalising on innovations like 3D, VR, AR and AI for new art experiences; on the blockchain ability to secure and trace artworks and transactions; and on the blockchain Ethereum smart contracts to invent new business models of selling/buying not only artworks but also shares of artworks and shares of collections.

What set you on the road to where you are now?

Being in art and tech a very long time, I’ve had this idea of a large art space, both online and physical, a long time.

Pauline Houl – Monart’s co-founder based in Beijing, managing a large 2,000 sq m art centre, whom I knew a few years – shared the same idea. We decided to join forces to launch together this large international venture.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

We initially thought we would wait to raise large funds through our token offering to develop our online art space. Fortunately, we realised with our great development team that we could start to develop a great and now almost ready MVP even before that!

How do you get the best out of your team?

Our 20-people team is covering the whole world – Beijing, Paris, Malta, San Francisco. We rely on the passion for our goal, on the work ethic and on a growing set of online tools to get the best from the whole team.

STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and other demographics. Have you noticed a diversity problem in your sector? What are your thoughts on this and whats needed to be more inclusive?

It is true that crypto really lacks diversity. At Monart, as we are art and crypto, plus very international, we have a lot more diversity. A third of the workplace is female; ethnicity is mixed between European, Asian and American.

Who is your role model and why?

Well, I do not pretend to have a role model. Many great entrepreneurs are inspiring but working on very different fields. Art and tech need to embrace both tech and art, seldom experienced by those great leaders.

What books have you read that you would recommend?

A very diverse set – entrepreneurs’ bios, business and creativity books, future-of-society thinkers, art books, science fiction novels, and more.

What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?

Outlook, to-do lists, MS suite, Google tools and social networks with Rambox Pro.

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