On March 29, nonfungible token (NFT) startup Freeport announced it had passed a Regulation A review by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch its blockchain platform for crowd-ownership of a four-piece collection of Andy Warhol prints. Each piece consists of 10,000 shares, with a minimum purchase of 10 per individual, allowing a maximum of 1,000 individuals to own a piece of Warhol art.
The underlying pieces are prints of iconic blue-chip Warhol works, including “Marilyn (1967),” “Double Mickey (1981),” “Mick Jagger (1975)” and “Rebel Without a Cause (James Dean) (1985).“ Current Andy Warhol paintings can fetch anywhere between $6 to $195,040,000 apiece, according to MutualArt.
As told by Freeport, the SEC clearance allows retail investors to gain fractional ownership in the fine arts market, which is typically exclusive to high-net-worth individuals due to pricing. “Customers can display their pieces in a high-resolution personal gallery, select frames, and view other community members’ galleries with rich social interactions that include comments, likes and more,” wrote the Freeport team. Colin Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Freeport, commented:
“As more and more value moves on-chain, fractionalized art is increasingly being sought after by a younger, yet less financially flexible, class of investors.“
Anyone offering securities in the U.S. must either register with the SEC or seek an exemption. The Regulation A exemption allows companies — mainly startups — to raise $20 million in 12 months in a Tier 1 offering or $75 million in 12 months in the more stringent Tier 2 offering. On April 18, Gary Gensler, chair of the SEC, will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on the regulation of crypto assets.