Galaxy Digital Holdings and the instrument’s owner, Yat Siu, are using the digital representation of the $9 million Stradivari violin as collateral to secure a loan

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Photos: Tarisio

The 1708 ‘Empress Caterina’ Stradivari violin, now an NFT

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A Stradivari violin valued at $9 million has been made into an NFT (Non-Fungible Token), making it the highest profile case of tokenisation yet.

Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd announced the tokenisation of the 1708 ’Empress Caterina’ Stradivari violin. The instrument was sold by Tarisio in 2023 to Yat Siu, the co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, a Hong-Kong based games software company. Siu is utilising the tokenised violin as collateral for a loan, financed by Galaxy’s Global Markets business.

Tokenisation is the process of creating a digital representation of a physical asset using blockchain technology. Galaxy is a digital asset and blockchain company which provides access to the growing digital economy.

’As a technologist with a background in classical music, this is a very special moment for me,’ said Siu, whose parents were both musicians. ’The 1708 Empress Caterina Stradivari violin is the first instrument of such storied origin and illustrious provenance to undergo tokenisation.

’I am thrilled to help trailblaze this new economic model for unique assets while at the same time preserving and sharing not just a very rare and precious instrument, but also a piece of history.’

’By tokenising this Stradivari violin, we are not just preserving the legacy of one of the world’s most precious musical instruments, but we are also setting a precedent for how the latent value of real-world assets can be accessed and utilised,’ said Michael Novogratz, CEO and founder of Galaxy.

’By starting with high-end assets like this violin, we’re creating a process that will transform how a whole range of assets are managed, valued, and traded in a digital economy.’

The golden age Stradivari violin is named after Catherine the Great. According to Alfred Hill, the Russian ambassador to Venice acquired the instrument for Empress Elisabeth Petrovna, who reigned over the Russian Empire from 1741 to 1762. Following Elisabeth’s death, the violin was passed on to her successor, Catherine.

The violin changed hands numerous times in its history. Alfred Hill brought the ‘Empress Caterina’ to London in 1898 and sold the violin a year later to French violinist Marie Douglas Stothert. Other owners and players include violinis Henri Belville, Prosper Maurel, Caressa & Français, violinist Leo Guetta and Peggy Guetta Finzi. The violin arrived in New York in 1951.

Prior to its sale to Yat Siu, the violin was loaned to Brett Yang of TwoSet Violin in November 2022 by Tarisio.

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