How to connect art and blockchain. (Kunst21 blog)
During the past six months, the Kunst21 team has been developing the platform that fulfills the mission: crowdinvesting in art, while reducing the risk via a diversified portfolio with shares of artworks from different artists.
With this article, you can join us in our journey to organize the technological infrastructure that helped us create the Kunst21 platform.
Why a web browser app and not a phone app?
Kunst21’s will to bring the art world to as many investors as possible took the team to a fully digital approach. The technology we enjoy today makes it possible to interact with millions of users while keeping costs moderate.
Once this was decided, the next challenge was to assess in which way the interaction would take place. At the moment, the most popular method is a native application, like an iPhone App. However, after further analysis, the best choice for the product was to develop a web application. Any Kunst21 user would be able to perform transactions from any desktop browser and check out their portfolio from any device with a web browser, e.g. tablets and phones.
A web application or webapp is software that runs on a browser, like Firefox or Safari, unlike software programs that run locally and natively, which they do on the operating system (OS) of the device. The use of a web app allows for broad compatibility across many kinds of devices. Removing the need for installation of any software also reduces security risks, as no special permission is required.
Next to this web application, we rely on the Stellar’s Freighter Wallet plugin, a straightforward and powerful way to safely store the users’ accounts and authorize transactions.
Once the product was determined to be a webapp, a framework, the set of tools to build it, had to be chosen. After a brief experience with Angular, the team quickly switched to Next.js.
This Node.js + React framework proved to be the best choice, because it makes setting up a React based frontend website a breeze, while also providing a simple yet powerful API.
The use of the Stellar blockchain provides a great advantage, as the backend for all the transactions is the Stellar Network itself. The Next.js API delivers the remaining backend operations required.
From painting to digital asset
Keeping track of the users assets took some thinking, and ended up with a simple predicate: By leveraging the power of the Stellar blockchain technology. For each user, a Stellar account is opened. For each piece of art, a new Stellar asset is created.
Just like that, any given user can easily keep track of their portfolio and transactions just by checking their Portfolio page.
The full picture
Right now, the Kunst21 web app is looking great. A fully functional Next.js and Stellar powered web application. Feel free to check it out at kunst21.app
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