Sotheby's accepts Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) for its diamond auction

Wed 23 Jun 2021 ▪ 18h30 ▪ 3 min read — by Mathias Neuville

On 21st June, the luxury auction house Sotheby’s announced it would be accepting cryptocurrency payments for its 101-carat diamond auction. The auction will be held in Hong Kong on 9th July, and potential buyers will be able to pay in Ethereum (ETH) or Bitcoin (BTC).

Sotheby’s, the blockchain enthusiast

This is not the first time that the American multinational company specializing in art and collectible auctions has delved into blockchain technology. In fact, the auction house sold its first NFT (non-fungible token) by anonymous digital artist Pak in April, and its second NFT just two weeks ago, selling a rare CryptoPunk for nearly $12 million (~£8.6 million). Sotheby’s will repeat the experiment on 23rd June, offering a token of the World Wide Web’s original source code for sale.

A diamond worth $15 million

Although this is not the first time that Sotheby’s takes on the world of crypto, it will surely be the first time in history that such an expensive item can be purchased in cryptocurrency. The auction house estimates that its “impeccable 101.38-carat pear-shaped diamond” is worth at least $15 million (~£10.8 million).

This would be, according to Sotheby’s, the first time that a physical object worth this much is bought with cryptocurrency. The gem will be on display for the public to see at the eponymous gallery in Hong Kong for a week before the auction, starting 1st July.

Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia Patti Wong called the upcoming sale a “truly symbolic moment”. She added that the sale of the diamond will be the “highlight” of the auction house’s Luxury Edit series in Hong Kong, which will include rare jewellery, watches, handbags and sneakers.

Sotheby’s Global Luxury Department Managing Director Josh Pullan claimed that accepting payments in Ether and Bitcoin is part of the auction house’s “commitment to innovation”.

To put it in perspective, 100-carat diamonds are considered extremely rare, and especially pear-shaped ones. The diamond offered for sale by the firm, named “The Key 10138”, is the second largest pear-shaped diamond to appear on the public market.

This auction is yet another sign of the growing interest in virtual currencies among sellers and buyers of rare and luxury goods. This decision meets a demand that is still coming from a younger, more digitally native generation.

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Mathias Neuville avatar
Mathias Neuville

Passionné de la finance et des investissements de demain, je déniche sur le web les dernières tendances (et les dernières infos) en matière de cryptomonnaies et de calcul de risque. De nature curieuse, je fouille et arpente les médias anglophones à la recherche de news à croquer. Mon objectif ? Proposer des informations synthétiques vérifiées et de qualité pour éclairer ceux qui désirent s’aventurer dans le monde des cryptoactifs.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.

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