Sotheby’s, one of the world’s oldest and biggest auction houses, has announced that it will be accepting major cryptocurrencies as a new payment method at an upcoming auction.
Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart said that the company will debut Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) payments as part of its upcoming auction of Banksy’s "Love is in the Air." The new payment method will be facilitated in partnership with United States’ largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, noted Stewart in a Tuesday interview with CNBC's Squawk Box.
“It’s something we have been thinking about for quite some time,” the CEO said, elaborating that Sotheby’s latest move brings the next step to exploring crypto payments for physical art after the firm debuted nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, earlier this year.
"Love is in the Air" is an iconic protest-themed artwork by pseudonymous England-based street artist Banksy. The work will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on May 12 in New York, Esquire reported. Bidding for the work, which is estimated to be worth between $3 million and $5 million, will be conducted in the U.S. dollar, featuring an opportunity to pay the amount with crypto.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, global auction houses have been moving into the crypto industry more aggressively in recent months. In February, British auction house Christie’s announced an NFT auction of Mike Winkelmann’s digital artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.” The auction eventually resulted in a record-setting NFT sale, netting nearly $70 million. In October 2020, Christie’s also sold a Bitcoin-themed art piece and NFT for over $130,000.
Sotheby’s announcement comes amid a major altcoin rally, with Ether setting a new all-time high above $3,500 on Tuesday.