Sotheby’s shall become the first major auction house to start accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method for physical art pieces, following its previous sales with digital NFT art last month.
One of the most recognizable works of street artist Banksy, “Love is in the Air” (2003), is going to be the first piece that Sotheby’s will put up for sale through either Bitcoin or Ethereum. It is expected to sell for $3 million to $5 million (between 35 and 53 Bitcoin) when it goes up for auction in New York on May 12.
The cryptocurrency payment option has been made possible through a partnership with Coinbase, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States whose debut on the Nasdaq last month marked a watershed moment for the crypto industry.
Coinbase stated in a blog post on Tuesday, “Through a bespoke solution, Coinbase will support payment estimated in the eight-figure range on Sotheby’s website, and in addition will help manage price fluctuations. The new integration with Coinbase will pave the way for further adoption of cryptocurrency across Sotheby’s auctions.”
This isn’t actually Sotheby’s first time to delve into the world of crypto. Just last month, the auction house hosted its debut sale of non-fungible tokens where an NFT by digital artist Pak fetched $1.36 million after an intense 90-minute bidding war.
Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart said, “It may well be that the winner of this (Banksy) painting pays in dollars and not crypto, but I think for us, creating the possibility for this is interesting. There’s clearly a large audience interested in the NFT aesthetic and possibility there. Why wouldn’t that extend to the physical art world, as well? It will be very interesting to see.”