Halts NFT sales of classic paintings

The Italian government recently ordered a halt of sales of all NFT-based classic Italian Renaissance paintings.

The Country’s four Museums signed a contract with an NFT production company called Cinello in hopes to make these paintings digitally available for ownership. However, the Italian government has raised concerns over the regulations and complexities of the new technology.

This announcement comes after one of the museums, Uffizi Galleries, made a small profit by selling Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo (1505–06) as an NFT for €240,000 on the online marketplace. The production cost around €100,000 and €140,000 income split, leaving Uffizi with only €70,000. Nonetheless, it was a good profit compared to the losses from the pandemic.

Seeing the success of an NFT painting, other museums signed with Cinello and many people believed that classic paintings will take over the NFT industry soon. But Italian government seems reluctant to do that.

Since the popularity of NFTs rose, regulation concerns have been raised by many countries. With the halt on NFT sales, the Italian government might make an effort to define these regulations and for other digital assets too.

“Given that the matter is complex and unregulated, the ministry has temporarily asked its institutions to refrain from signing contracts relating to NFTs,” Massimo Osanna, the director-general of museums in Italy, told the Art Newspaper. “The basic intention is to avoid unfair contracts.”