Italy Pulls the Plug on NFTs

Words by
Lee Cassanell

12th July 2022

The Italian ministry of museums halts NFT contracts.

Michelangelo NFT

Earlier this year, several Italian museums signed up to a new project to sell digital replicas of masterpieces from their collections as NFTs but the Italian Ministry of Museums has now ordered them to halt signing new contracts with NFT companies after a report into Florence’s Uffizi Gallery’s sale of a Michelangelo NFT led to concerns over dubious contracts and ownership rights. 

Accord to, the Uffizi Gallery partnered with Milan based Tech company Cinello to produce the digital work but Cinello took so much in fees that the museum only reaped €70,000 of the €240,000 sale. 

An article in La Repubblica speculated as to who owned the digital rights to the Michelangelo work and the Uffizi’s director, Eike Schmidt, admitted that the museum had not done adequate due diligence when it came to structuring the deal around the NFT.

“It’s fundamental to inform yourself not only from a technical point of view, but also from a legal point of view,” he said. Adding that “certain platforms where you register ownership may not give sufficient guarantees, and you risk losing everything,”, said Schmidt

A spokesperson for the Italian ministry of museums told the Art Newspaper  “Given that this matter is complex and unregulated the ministry has temporarily asked its institutions to refrain from signing contracts relating to NFTs. The basic intention is to avoid unfair contracts.”