Adding new masterpieces to a collection without investments

Discover Rubey, a game changer for art lovers and museums


The field of art and heritage stretches back millennia. This does not mean, however, that there is no need for innovation within the sector. Flanders is taking the lead in this area too, with initiatives such as Rubey. This ingenious form of share ownership – which was co-developed with the support of Tourism Flanders – brings the purchase of valuable works of art within the reach of the general public, and at the same time enables museums to add new masterpieces to their collections without investments.


Invest in Art Security Tokens

Rubey can be a game changer in the art world. The system is based on the creation of so-called “Art Security Tokens”, explains Gwenn Nevelsteen, founder of the communication agency Untitled Workers Club and the brain behind the construction.

“Art Security Tokens enable a kind of fractional ownership. A work of art is virtually divided into a large number of equal parts. These virtual parts – Art Security Tokens – hold financial rights to the artwork, which serves as collateral.

Because the virtual parts are sold separately, investing in a masterpiece becomes accessible to everyone. This makes the purchase of art inclusive and democratic. What’s more, the masterpiece does not belong to a single owner, but to the thousands of people who have bought an AST. Plus, they all get the chance to enjoy the artwork because it is on long-term loan to a museum.”


Art Security Tokens make the purchase of art inclusive and democratic


Unlike NFTs – a Non-Fungible Token, where ownership of a digital item is traded – Art Security Tokens involve ownership of a real, physical artwork. The issuance is subject to financial legislation and the supervision of official bodies. This is another difference with unregulated tokens, which do not yet have a clear legal framework.

Carnaval de Binche- James Ensor - 1938 - Masks - fotografie Valerie Clarysse - (c) James Ensor, Carnaval de Binche, oil on canvas, 1924, loan Rubey

James Ensor takes the lead

With Art Security Tokens, museums have a new tool for acquiring masterpieces, says Nevelsteen.

“Museums often lack the resources for this. Thanks to token holders, museums can expand and deepen their collections. Every artwork that is tokenised via the Rubey platform comes from a private collection and is given on long-term loan to a museum. What’s more, the construction creates a new form of community building between owners and museums. The token holders stay informed about the work, for example when it travels to a foreign exhibition, or about new scientific insights.”

The first work to be tokenized is James Ensor’s “Carnaval de Binche”. The painter is mentioned in the same breath as Rubens, Bruegel, Van Eyck and Delvaux. Many prestigious international museums have an Ensor in their permanent collection.

Thanks to Rubey, this masterpiece no longer hangs in a private collection, but in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. You are welcome to view the world’s largest Ensor collection in the completely renovated museum, which Rubey helped to initiate.

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