Auction House Sotheby to Accept Bitcoin and Ether for the Sale of An Over 100-Carat Diamond
Auction house Sotheby’s, which has been venturing into the cryptocurrency having sold non-fungible tokens (NFTs), is now accepting payment in Bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH) at the sale of a 101.38-carat diamond this Friday.
The pear-shaped diamond could fetch as much as $15 million in the single-lot sale in Hong Kong. There have been fewer than 10 diamonds weighing over 100 carats that ever come to auction, and only two of them have been pear-shaped.
According to Sotheby’s, this could be the most expensive physical object ever publicly offered for purchase with crypto.
Josh Pullan, managing director of Sotheby’s global luxury division, said there had been a growing demand for precious gems, increasingly from a “younger, digitally native generation,” particularly from Asia.
Switzerland-based art adviser George Bak who specializes in blockchain technologies, also noted that many auction house executives were surprised by the fervent interest from collectors who wanted to pay in crypto.
“Many people got rich really quickly from the volatility of the crypto market in the past year, so they’re in a spending mood,” Bak said, according to whom, allowing collectors to pay with cryptos will make an art dealer or auction house “more attractive and innovative” than their competitors.
Despite this volatility, auction houses rarely take the brunt of it. The sellers assume most of the risk, said Bak, who doesn’t expect crypto to replace traditional currencies any time soon.
“This hybrid reality,” where digital wallets and physical artworks co-exist, has a “lot of potential,” he added:
“But as it is still early days, it’s probably a learning curve for everyone.”