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Future Shock: The World’s First NFT "Smart Gallery" Opens in San Juan

The Lighthouse Gallery will display NFTs by established and emerging digital artists from Puerto Rico and the world.

There are other "real-world" NFT galleries in the world, but none of them are quite like the Lighthouse, which held its opening party during Puerto Rico Blockchain Week. Unlike other NFT galleries, Lighthouse is fully autonomous, the first such "smart" gallery of its kind. 

According to the gallery's founder, Crystal Rose, this means that “the only person who will sell you anything here is the barista.” 

The gallery lives in two places: inside the metaverse, and at 257 Calle de San Justo in the Old City. Buyers can purchase the art via QR codes in either location. The gallery’s initial collection includes early Curio cards valued at over $1 million each, as well as less pricey works by emerging Puerto Rican artists.

Although NFTs have gained a reputation for being niche novelties, Rose emphasized their potential to revolutionize the way all artists are compensated for their work. 

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“With the smart contracts associated with NFTs, you can add a royalty so that with every sale you get perpetual income,” Rose said. In other words, artists can continue to make money as the value of their work increases and changes hands, rather than only receiving a single payment at the point of its initial sale.

Rose sees the gallery as a way to help build a community comprised of local and international artists and collectors. “We're starting to see that people value things differently,” she said. “It's not just the painting that's on the wall. It's being part of a community of artists “