KMSKA is the first European museum to use Art Security Tokens to make a masterpiece publicly accessible

PRESS RELEASE - 27 April 2022

Become the "co-owner" of a masterpiece from 150 euros

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is the first museum in Europe to adopt an innovative funding method to expand its collection. From 27 April, you can buy a virtual share in a piece of fine art in an Art Security Tokens Offering. This way, art lovers and members of the general public can become "co-owners" of Carnaval de Binche by James Ensor. This allows the museum to strengthen its collection and gives everyone an opportunity to invest in art. The piece will be exhibited at the KMSKA after its grand reopening on 24 September 2022 so that it can be enjoyed by all.

In the run-up to the grand opening, KMSKA is working with the Rubey platform to be the first European museum to organise an Art Security Token Offering. Ensor's work Carnaval de Binche is tokenised in this offering. This means the work is virtually divided into a large number of equal parts. Those virtual parts or Art Security Tokens are associated with certain financial rights to the piece of art, which is used as collateral. The Art Security Tokens are offered for sale so that interested parties can invest in part of the masterpiece from €150.

Investing in art is not new. It gives mainly wealthy individuals the chance to purchase a museum-quality piece of art. KMSKA wants to use this new innovative way of investing to democratise art. It does this firstly by deliberately keeping the entry fee for the Art Security Tokens low to allow everyone to invest in a museum-quality piece of art. And secondly, the museum keeps Ensor's painting on display after the offering so that the piece remains accessible to all visitors.  

 “The Flemish Government's Fund for Objects of Exceptional Importance assists museums to acquire and restore collection pieces," Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon says. “However, masterpieces are very much in demand and as a government it is not always easy to really participate in the international art market. We therefore applaud the initiative of the KMSKA and the Rubey platform. KMSKA and the Rubey platform are making history by investing in their collection in this innovative way. They make privately owned heritage accessible again to the public and they allow anyone to invest in a masterpiece. It is an excellent example of a public-private partnership."

Collection management 2.0 in true KMSKA tradition

KMSKA's collaboration with Rubey is clearly unique, but private investors have helped museums to expand their collections for many years. For instance, the Franck family from Antwerp played an important role in the expansion of the museum's modern art collection. KMSKA now wants to unite art lovers in a similar way and it found the perfect partner to do this in Rubey. The money raised in the Art Security Token Offering allows Carnaval de Binche to be purchased and makes sure the museum receives the piece on long-term loan. This means everyone finally gets to admire Carnaval de Binche – a painting that has spent years in private collections.

A new type of community building

KMSKA has been closed for renovations for more than a decade, and is looking forward to being a warm meeting place in Antwerp after its reopening. Rubey's Art Security Tokens fit perfectly into this vision: the idea is to build a community by maintaining a close relationship with the investors after the purchase of the Art Security Tokens. For example, around the time of the reopening, KMSKA will invite all token holders to come and see the piece they have invested in during an exclusive viewing. In addition, they will be regularly updated on the ins and outs of “their Ensor”. If the painting is temporarily lent to a foreign museum or if there are any new scientific insights, the token holders will be the first to know.

KMSKA President Luk Lemmens explains enthusiastically:

“KMSKA will be more than a place that displays art. We are fully committed to engaging our visitors and token holders in our collection and operation. It is very special that anyone can become a "co-owner" of Carnaval de Binche by James Ensor. KMSKA already had the largest Ensor collection in the world. The addition of Carnaval de Binche puts our museum on the international map as an Ensor centre of expertise even more.”

Art Security Tokens, a revolution in the art market

Because Art Security Tokens are so new, many people confuse them with Bitcoins or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which are non-interchangeable, irreplaceable digital property certificates. Art Security Tokens, however, operate in a regularised market, and are therefore very different. This means the issue of Art Security Tokens is bound by financial legislation. Investors in Art Security Tokens therefore enjoy the same legal protection as investors in, say, stocks, bonds or other securities. Bitcoins or NFTs do not yet have a clear legal framework.

Rubey partner and well-known tech entrepreneur Peter Hinssen sees a big future for Art Security Tokens: “I am absolutely convinced that this is not a hype phenomenon, but the start of a revolution. Technologically, these Art Security Tokens are the ultimate innovation in the blockchain environment. However, the social element is just as important. Investing in Art Security Tokens is a true impact investment.”

Art Security Tokens also represent the value of a product that exists in the physical world, in this case Carnaval de Binche, a unique, museum-quality and non-copyable painting. Because Art Security Tokens really make the best of both worlds, they are a true revolution for investors.

Interested parties in the European Union can join the Rubey platform from 27 April on www.rubey.be, which was created specifically to offer Art Security Tokens investments. You can invest in Art Security Tokens with a deposit from 150 euros.

Carnaval de Binche by Ensor

Painted in 1924
Dimensions: 76 x 61 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Signature: ‘ENSOR’ in lower left corner

James Ensor is one of Belgium's most internationally renowned artists. Like Rubens, Bruegel, Van Eyck and Magritte, he is considered among the best painters of that part of the world. Ensor is very much in demand. Quite a few prestigious international museums, such as the Getty in Los Angeles and the MoMa in New York, have an Ensor in their permanent collection. Few people know, however, that KMSKA has the largest Ensor collection in the world.

Ensor's most notable contribution to modern art is his use of masks. Carnival masks started to appear in his drawings and paintings in 1887. The piece Carnaval de Binche contains that distinctive imagery. It is a meeting of very diverse characters: elegant ladies, droll officers and other buffoons, masked and grotesque creatures. Ensor explained his penchant for the use of carnival masks in a critical piece about art in 1911: “To me the mask is: a fresh tone, sumptuous decor, large unexpected gestures, sharp expressions, exquisite turbulence.” ("Le masque me dit: fraîcheur de ton, décor somptueux, grands gestes inattendus, expression suraiguë, exquise turbulence.")

The KMSKA curators selected the painting Carnaval de Binche based on its quality, authenticity and condition.

About KMSKA

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is the largest art museum in Flanders. With absolute masterpieces from the Flemish Primitives and the Antwerp Baroque to an extensive collection of modern art with Rik Wouters, Henri de Braekeleer and René Magritte. Jewel in the crown is the world's largest collection of works by James Ensor. At present, the renovation is nearing completion. The existing 19th-century building is being restored to its former glory, and will be expanded generously. In the weekend of 24 and 25 September, the KMSKA will celebrate. We will be reopening the collection to the public and breaking out of our walls with a grand opening festival in and around the museum. Expect dazzling performances, contemporary and interdisciplinary events, surprising crossovers and fun workshops for children, youths and families.

About Rubey

Rubey is a collaboration between 3 parties:

  1. Untitled Workers Club, an advertising agency with a wide range of clients in the art world and finance. These clients noticed that a lot of their museum-loving customers did not have the financial capacity to buy important works of art to expand their collections, so they came up with the basic concept of tokenising works of art and they asked Untitled Workers Club to handle everything to do with art, museums and communication.
    More information: www.untitledworkersclub.be
  2. 2140 Consulting, a team of consultants that helps organisations in a variety of sectors – from real estate to rainforest to art – to set up security token offerings.
    2140 Consulting takes care of the legal and technical aspects of the Security Token Offering.
    More information: www.2140consulting.com
  3. Peter Hinssen, tech entrepreneur and author. Peter gives talks all over the world on the impact of technology on society and the digital world which he calls the new normal. He is a popular keynote speaker at IT conferences across the globe.

The Rubey team is supported by many specialists: Tokeny (tokenisation technical support services), Loyens & Loeff (Luxembourg legal support), Hogan Lovells (Belgium legal support), Finimmo (Know Your Customer (KYC) legal requirements support), JTC Executive Partners (corporate administrative services), TMF Group (security agent services), AlphaFX and Olkypay (banking services), KMSKA (art custodian).

About Visit Flanders

VISITFLANDERS is the Flemish government's official organisation for promoting tourism in Flanders. Sustainable development is a high priority based on the philosophy that tourism should benefit the visitors, residents, entrepreneurs as well as the soul of the destination. The Flemish Masters are an important part of the promotion of Visit Flanders: artists such as van Eyck, Bruegel and Rubens are known worldwide for their craftsmanship, creativity and technical innovation. James Ensor is one of the later modernist artists to conclude this impressive hall of fame.

About blockchain Ethereum/Polygon

A blockchain is an automated and decentralised digital ledger that records who owns how many Art Security Tokens in a completely reliable way. It also tracks whenever an Art Security Token changes ownership. Such transactions and registrations can take place 24/7. Ethereum is one of the most secure blockchains in the world and is perfectly suited for smart contracts. The rules and conditions that determine when an exchange of Art Security Tokens can go ahead are laid down in a smart contract. This is a computer algorithm that automatically makes sure all participants stick to the arrangements. For instance, Art Security Tokens can’t be exchanged with someone who has not yet registered as a verified user on the Rubey platform. This is a condition in the smart contract. This makes Security Tokens theft or fraud impossible.