Christie’s Turns Venture Investor With A New Tech-Focused Fund
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Christie’s Turns Venture Investor With A New Tech-Focused Fund

Christie’s Venture will focus on early-stage financing for companies developing Web 3.0 and related technologies, innovations that make it easier to consume art.

By Abby Schultz
Tue, Jul 19, 2022 11:32amGrey Clock 2 min

Christie’s announced on Monday that it’s now investing in leading-edge technology related to the future of the art market through an internal strategic venture fund.

Christie’s Venture will focus on early-stage financing for companies developing Web 3.0 and related technologies, innovations that make it easier to consume art—including digital art, and on financial technologies that make it easier to buy and sell art.

“We’re particularly interested in founders who are doing things that reduce friction in our space—whether it be buying and selling, provenance, security, or technologies that help people consume art better,” says Devang Thakkar, global head of Christie’s Ventures. “Those are the kinds of areas that we’ve identified where we can help move the needle.”

Thakkar began advising Christie’s CEO Guillame Cerutti and the executive team during the pandemic on a range of digital considerations, including web and mobile applications, trends in nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, and digital ownership.

“With the growth of that area last year, we had a front-row seat to the development and innovation that founders were bringing to us,” he says. At the time, Christie’s didn’t have a way to participate in these fledgling businesses, so Thakkar pitched the idea of a venture fund.

The vehicle’s first investment is in LayerZero Labs, which Christie’s describes as a “cross-chain interoperability company.” In other words, LayerZero is developing technology that will allow people to move assets between blockchains such as Ethereum, Solana, and Algorand.

There are more than 1,000 blockchains currently in existence and Christie’s expects consolidation in the sector will reduce the number to 20 to 30 within the next year-and-a-half. LayerZero should make it easier for individuals to move their holdings without going through several steps and paying lots of fees. It’s technology that should benefit any crypto holder, not just those who own NFT-based art, Thakkar says.

Aside from such Web 3.0 technologies, Christie’s will also invest in technology that makes it easy to consume art, whether it’s through today’s computer systems, advanced screens, or something else, he says, adding, “It’s an area of investigation for us.”

Concerning financial innovation, Christie’s, which has its own art financing division, is looking outside of traditional art lending to the selling of fractionalized shares in fine art and other innovations that make it easier to sell art.

The fund is launching at a time when cryptocurrencies have fallen sharply, taking the value of many NFTs down too. Ethereum, which is the basis for many NFTs, was down nearly 66% through Friday.

But Thakkar says this “crypto winter” actually makes it “a little more realistic to invest in this space—the fog of speculation and high-price points have tapered down a bit.” He points to Andreessen Horowitz, a US$33 billion California-based venture firm that began investing in leading-edge tech in 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis.

Christie’s Ventures is seeded from the auction house’s balance sheet and will not include other investors. Legal and financial due diligence will all be handled in house, too.

Thakkar, who has been investing in companies on his own for 10 years, worked at Microsoft for a decade and was a former executive at Artsy, and he says, he also grew up around art. This new role at Christie’s is “a perfect blend of every fabric of my being,” he says.

Reprinted by permission of Penta. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: July 18, 2022



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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

By SUMATHI REDDY
Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.

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