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Auction House Sotheby’s announces crypto payments

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

The famous auction house Sotheby’s is in the process of accepting payments in BTC and ETH, following its debut in NFT.

The art market is undergoing a digital transformation. Sotheby’s is a perfect illustration of this. Earlier this year, the prestigious art and collectibles auction house launched into NFT.

Art in the form of digital tokens was only the first step, however. Sotheby’s now aims to revolutionize its payment methods. How? By allowing payments in Bitcoin or Ethereum.

For this great first, the luxury house has chosen its upcoming “Love is in the Air” auction of a work by artist Banksy’s. To offer this payment method, the company is partnering with Coinbase.

The auction will open on May 12 for an estimated price of between $3 million and $5 million. The sale will be conducted in US dollars, which is indeed an opportunity to use cryptocurrencies.

Only the two main ones will be accepted for this first auction of Sotheby’s, BTC and ETH so. And according to its CEO, the adoption of crypto is not a sudden project. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while,” says Charles Stewart on CNBC.

The British house has been particularly interested in digital assets since 2021, starting with NFTs. Digital works of art, non-fungible tokens, are experiencing a real explosion this year.

So auction specialists are getting on board with this trend too, although exchanges and blockchains, including Binance are also counting on getting a piece of the pie. On March 16, Sotheby’s announced its first sale of a tokenized work by artist Pak.

“I think this is the beginning of something you’ll see more of,” said the CEO on that occasion. NFTs introduce a disruption to the market, potentially disrupting the current giants of the physical art world.

Sotheby’s has chosen to jump on the bandwagon for fear of being outflanked by new players better positioned on the emerging NFT market. But its competitor, Christie’s, is also in the race.

In February, the company made a record sale for an NFT: $70 million. But its debut in NFTs dates back to October 2020 with a first auction at more than $130,000.