Sothebyâ€™s, the worldâ€™s largest auction house, will start accepting cryptocurrencies for physical art. The first auction for which bitcoin and ether will be accepted is Banksyâ€™s Love is in the Air image at the Contemporary Art Evening Auction. The piece is estimated to sell for between $3 million and $5 million.
Sothebyâ€™s Accepts Bitcoin and Ether
Sothebyâ€™s announced Tuesday that it will start accepting cryptocurrency via Coinbase. According to the auction house, this is the first time cryptocurrencies will be accepted for payments for physical art.
Established in 1744, Sothebyâ€™s described itself as the worldâ€™s largest marketplace for art and luxury. With a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 44 departments, â€œwe host over 600 auctions annually and offer a cross-category selection of items available for immediate purchase via both digital and physical shopping experiences as well as private sales,â€ its website details. Artprice.com ranks Sothebyâ€™s as the number one auction house by turnover, followed by Christieâ€™s.
Sothebyâ€™s CEO Charles Stewart confirmed on CNBC Tuesday:
He admitted that â€œItâ€™s something we have been thinking about for quite some time.â€ The CEO further shared: â€œwe had our first NFT [non-fungible token] sale a few weeks back. We had over 3,000 bidders and participants in that sale series.â€ Stewart added that the popularity of that sale â€œmade us really think that we need to take this next step and begin to explore accepting crypto as payments for physical art as well.â€
Coinbase explained Tuesday that Sothebyâ€™s will accept bitcoin and ethereum for Banksyâ€™s Love is in the Air image at their Contemporary Art Evening Auction and Coinbase Commerce was selected as the integration partner. According to Sothebyâ€™s CEO, the piece is estimated to sell for $3 million to $5 million.
The Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange elaborated:
â€œThe May 12th auction will be conducted in USD, but the buyer and artist will have the option to transact in either crypto or fiat currencies,â€ Coinbase clarified.
When asked about whether Sothebyâ€™s will be keeping cryptocurrencies on its balance sheet, the CEO explained that his company has an agreement with the owner and consigner of the painting and it will be ultimately up to them. However, he noted that with the partnership with Coinbase, keeping cryptocurrencies is also a â€œpossibility.â€
A digital artwork entitled â€œEverydays â€“ The First 5000 Daysâ€ by American artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, sold for $69,346,250 at Christieâ€™s in March. It was the first non-fungible token (NFT) ever offered at Christieâ€™s.
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