FLASH FRIDAY: Watching DLT in Action 

FLASH FRIDAY is a weekly content series looking at the past, present and future of capital markets trading and technology. FLASH FRIDAY is sponsored by Instinet, a Nomura company.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York is no stranger to displaying groundbreaking pieces of art, but perhaps not in its lobby. The Gund Lobby at MOMA is the venue for Unsupervised, an installation by Refik Anadol which is being shown on massive screens measuring 24 x 24 feet.

Anadol has trained an artificial intelligence model using data from 200 years of art at MoMA to generate moving images which also respond to site-specific inputs such as movement and light in the museum lobby. 

The installation is based on works that are encoded on a blockchain which records Anadol’s art. It can be argued that this art installation has already used distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a way that benefits humanity in a far better way than all the shenanigans in the crypto world. 

Last December Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, described crypto markets as not just a bubble that is bursting, but like froth, as multiple bubbles burst one after another. This followed the crash of TerraUSD, then the world’s third-largest stablecoin, and the bankruptcy filing of crypto exchange FTX. Panetta said that despite consuming a vast amount of human, financial and technological resources, unbacked crypto-assets do not perform any socially or economically useful function.

However Unsupervised shows that DLT, which underlies crypto markets, can be socially useful, and that is what the finance world needs to find. For example, blockchain has the potential to democratise access to finance and make illiquid assets easier to trade. Hopefully, the fall out in crypto markets will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Unsupervised is showing at MOMA until 5 March.