Small Business Infrastructure And Identity-Making Through Cryptocurrency

On June 29, Dadiani Fine Art announced that the gallery will now accept cryptocurrency as payment for works of art. The gallery will start by recognizing offers made in six of the leading cryptocurrencies, including Ether. Gallery director and owner Eleesa Dadiani spoke with ETHNews about her decision to accept virtual currency transactions.

Cryptocurrency has gradually permeated the “existing structure of finance [and] commerce,” said Dadiani. “It is clear we need to position ourselves to take advantage of this whole new economy that is taking shape.” Digital currency, she said, “naturally lends itself to the younger contingent, [but] it is now transcending this. We are seeing people of all ages, creed, and class with an open-minded disposition embracing this technology.”

Smaller enterprises, in particular, have much to gain. Dadiani noted that small businesses are frequently independent and “independent businesses hold [a] place in the hearts of all who believe in fairness and the free market.” Through digital currency, Dadiani articulated, people are able to identify themselves as “forward-thinking” and “free.” The rising value of cryptocurrency might allow small businesses to broaden their markets to entice consumers who were early investors in digital coins.

“When a business says ‘we accept cryptocurrency,’ this ultimately means that they have entered into a new ethos which carries in itself the formula for change. There’s an instant connection, it’s about being part of something new, a big idea.”

This aura of cool is continually renewed in art (see Dadaism) and business (consider Apple’s “Think Different” campaign). When a person buys a product, that item provides a fraction of his or her identity. A T-shirt from a concert, a favorite brand of soda, even the artwork (or lack thereof) in a person’s home – these collectively define a consumer’s self-image and how others understand that individual.

In a sense, accepting cryptocurrency allows businesses to access this cool paradigm in a new medium. Now, business isn’t just about selling a product, it’s also about how a customer pays for the product. There’s value in being part of the club that accepts virtual currency.

What remains to be seen is how widespread adoption might impact cryptocurrency as an indicator of social status. Membership in this relative subculture will obviously change with time. For example, in social media, Facebook lost its impression of exclusivity by opening up to a larger community. When parents and grandparents started using the platform, the media giant was barely recognizable as the mature form of its adolescent predecessor.

In a similar way, it’s vital to recognize that cryptocurrency may undergo a similar evolution. Dadiani acknowledges that small businesses can capitalize on this cool factor in the short term, but long-term strategy is difficult to project.