International auctioneer Sotheby’s will accept Bitcoin or Ether as payment for the sale of a 101.38-carat diamond, marking another step forward in cryptocurrency adoption.
It would be the first time in history where a diamond of this size has been made available to the public for purchase using cryptocurrency. No other high-value tangible thing has ever been offered for purchase using cryptocurrency.
The Key 10138, a 101.38-carat pear-shaped flawless diamond, is one of only ten diamonds larger than 100 carats to ever be sold at auction, with just two of them being pear-shaped. The colorless diamond’s name, Key 10138, is meant to symbolize the vital function that keys play in the cryptocurrency realm.
Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said
This is a truly symbolic moment. The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency
Phillips offered a work by graffiti artist Banksy for Ether or Bitcoin last month, demonstrating how auction houses are increasingly taking cryptocurrency as payment. In February, Christie’s accepted Ether as payment for a collection of digital artworks.
Many auction house executives were startled by the strong demand from collectors who wanted to pay in cryptocurrencies, according to George Bak, a Switzerland-based art advisor and curator for the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art who specializes in blockchain technology. Bak said,
Many people got rich really quickly from the volatility of the crypto market in the past year, so they’re in a spending mood, If you want to be competitive in the art world as an art dealer or auction house, allowing collectors to pay with cryptocurrencies will make you more attractive and innovative
In May, Sotheby’s sold a Banksy for $12.9 million, marking the first time a work of real art was purchased using cryptocurrencies at a major auction house.
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