Popular Auction House Sotheby’s, Announces Plans to Accept Crypto Payment for its New Auction

Bob Coiney

November 12, 2021

Popular auction house Sotheby’s has announced that for its Nov. 18 auction, which includes pieces by renowned street artist Banksy, it will accept Ethereum (ETH) bids in real-time, a move that has been described as the first-of-its-kind. Sotheby’s claims that this will be the first time a major auction house accepts cryptocurrency as a standard currency for bidding on a physical work of art in real-time.

In a statement it released, Sotheby’s said, “The paradigm-shifting move marks the first time that a cryptocurrency will be used as the standard currency for bidding on physical artworks in real-time during a live auction.” 

Sotheby’s auctioneer will include bids in the New York saleroom in Ethereum for Banksy’s works, “Trolley Hunters” and “Love Is In The Air” as part of the  ‘The Now Evening Auction’ on November 18. The prestigious auction house has plans in place to ensure that the historical moment is captured and shared with their followers, and as a result, the event will also be live-streamed across Sotheby’s social media channels, including a dedicated Discord channel.

“Trolley Hunters,” described as a usually strong, hilarious, and prophetic critique of society’s often irrational predilection for processed and packaged products, is projected to sell for $5-7 million USD while “Love Is In The Air,”  dubbed one of Banksy’s most iconic and instantly recognizable paintings, is projected to fetch $4-6 million at auction.

Although the bidding prices will be announced in ETH, winning bidders will be able to pay for the works in Ether, Bitcoin (BTC), or USD Coin (USDC).

Sotheby’s has been Involved in Crypt

The famous auction house has been active in the crypto space, and a few months ago, it announced its plans to accept crypto for payment. Banksy’s “Love is in the Air” was up for bidding at the time, selling for $12.9 million. In addition, Sotheby’s has backed NFT ventures, including seed funding for NFT studio Mojito, a blockchain technology platform. In October, it also created a Metaverse-themed NFT platform, with curators including Pranksy, PleasrDAO, Paris Hilton, and others.

Auction Houses Embrace Crypto

Sotheby’s keeps breaking milestones in the blockchain world. For example, a rare Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT sold for a record $3.4 million at the auction house last month. Also, Sotheby’s November sale week is predicted to generate $1 billion in revenue, showing the platform’s growth since it embraced crypto.

However, Sotheby’s is not the only auction house interested in crypto and blockchain. Several prestigious auction houses have been swift in joining the crypto revolution, and it seems to be a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Phillips auction house accepted crypto payment in its auction for Banksy’s “Laugh Now Panel A,”  which sold for over $3 million. Also, Christie’s, a rival auction house, was the first to take ETH as payment in a CryptoPunks sale last May. Beeple’s “The First 5000 Days” was also auctioned off for almost $69 million at Christie’s.