Online art market insights

We explore topics and themes from the Hiscox Online Trade Report including interviews, analysis and trends.

Dan Colen The Space between her Belly Button and her Breast 2010. Courtesy of Paddle8

Online art market insights

We explore topics and themes from the Hiscox Online Trade Report including interviews, analysis and trends.

Would you buy a painting online?

While consumers are becoming more comfortable buying art solely on the basis of a digital image, we look at whether technology can ever create the same level of trust that you would get viewing items in a gallery

Key moments in the last twelve months


  • Partnerships
  • Launch of online venture
  • Fundraising/investment
  • Online sales
  • Acquisitions



March 2015

Verisart delivers a new way to certify and verify artworks and collectables in real time. By using distributed ledger technology provided by the blockchain, the company aims to build a permanent, decentralised and anonymous ledger for the world’s art and collectibles.

April 2015

NeonMob makes headlines as one of the first combinations between digital creation centre and marketplace for digital works. Patrons can buy editions of the work online. The company is the first to introduce the notion of digital scarcity, that is the idea that a digital work can be editioned. The company has raised $2 million (approx. £1.4 million) in seed money so far.

May 2015

Bernard Arnault buys a stake in Auctionata, raising total invested capital to approximately $96 million (approx. £67.8 million).

June 2015

Art:i:curate, a website that allows patrons to donate funds for a particular project and share in the profit of its sale, launches its beta. Individuals can wholly or partially fund a project, which requires 40% of its purchase price. The site has 2,000 works by 150 artists, all priced between $300 (approx. £212) and $15,000 (approx. £10,600).

June 2015

Ascribe raises $2 million (approx. £1.4 million) to ensure artists get credit for their work. Ascribe, a “notary and timestamp for intellectual property and creative works,” helps digital creators attribute and share their digital works.

August 2015

Invaluable announces that it is Sotheby’s core technology partner for online bidding. The partnership has seen the number of collectors bidding online increase nearly 55%, leading to a 35% increase in the value of successful bids.

September 2015

Traffic to Sotheby’s eBay channel increased 55% in the first half of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.

September 2015

Auctionata acquires ValueMyStuff (VMS), the London-based valuation service which has market-leading valuations expertise and a customer base of 400,000 clients.

October 2015

Sotheby’s offers its first sale in collaboration with Artsy, called “Input/Output.” The sale comprised of 25 works, focusing on the digital age from established and emerging contemporary artists.

November 2015

Unseen Art, a not-for-profit project to create a site to list and print 3D art for free, launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo. The company aims to make great works of art available to all, at no cost, especially for the visually impaired.

December 2015

David Zwirner invests in Paddle8. To date, the company has raised $44 million (approx. £31.1 million), and says it will be profitable by early 2017.

January 2016

Rhizome, a New-York based organisation that focuses on the preservation and promotion of digitally based art, received $600,000 (approx. £424,200) to fund its Webrecorder project. The project will make it easy to digitally archive anything from websites, particularly those that use complex Java-based software.

January 2016

Crowdfunding-based art investment firm Arthena launches. They give investors the ability to examine collectors, pool their capital, and invest in selected artworks. They aim to streamline the collection process for new collectors with services like storage and insurance, and give them access to world-renowned collections.

February 2016

Curioos opens up a marketplace for its digital art platform. The online curator for digital art has opened up itself as a submission-based platform, which will greatly increase the number of artists listed on the site.

February 2016

The Curator’s Eye (TCE), a US digital marketing firm for art dealers and galleries, announces its move into virtual auctions. The Curator’s Eye will start hosting digitally-based live auctions beginning in the second quarter of 2016.

March 2016

Invaluable announces that they are expanding by adding galleries and dealers to their client list and will start to offer fixed price options.

April, 2016

Vastari announces partnership with Everledger, the blockchain ledger.

April, 2016

Artrunners launches a beta version of their new logistics platform, which aims to greatly simplify fine art logistics for clients and service providers.