Sotheby’s offers first-ever cryptocurrency payment auction option as it sells Banksy for $ 3 million – $ 5 million
Auction house Sotheby’s is auctioning the very first work of art that can be paid for with cryptocurrency.
The auction company’s outpost in New York has announced that it will accept cryptocurrencies Bitcoin or Ethereum, also known as Ether, for Banksy’s Love is in the Air, which goes on sale on May 12.
The famous painting – described by Sotheby’s as a ‘unique work’ based on a work of art first sprayed on a wall in Jerusalem – shows a protester hurling a bouquet of flowers.
It has a reserve price of $ 3 million to $ 5 million dollars.
“This is the first time that cryptocurrency has been accepted as payment for physical artwork,” said Charles F. Sotheby’s CEO Charles F. Stewart in an interview with CNBC, “and we are very excited to make this possible.”
Cryptocurrency is money created using computer code. Those currencies and transactions made with it are authorized and registered using secure technology known as blockchain.
Sotheby’s says it gives the seller of the artwork the chance to accept payments from them in the form of Bitcoin, Ether, or exchange it for regular money using cryptocurrency platform Coinbase, which is used to make the sale. ease.
Buyers can also pay with regular cash or cards.
Coinbase provides a platform that allows users to buy and exchange cryptocurrencies for cash. The experts from the Banksy auction will be on hand to manage fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin and Ether while the auction is in progress.
In recent years, cryptocurrency has gained popularity, with one of the largest, Bitcoin, valued at over $ 55,400 on Tuesday morning.
Ethereum, meanwhile, was worth nearly $ 3,500.
Sotheby’s will be selling this Banksy painting called Love is in the Air on May 12. It will be the first art auction ever where buyers can pay with cryptocurrency.
Sotheby’s, whose New York auction house is pictured, believes that offering cryptocurrency payments could dramatically increase interest in their auctions
Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart, pictured on CNBC Tuesday, said he was ‘excited’ about the auction house’s first potential cryptocurrency sale
“I certainly think we will expand the audience with this, and it is certainly something that we will explore in the future,” said Stewart, “although we are absolutely excited to see how that first step in this direction goes.”
Stewart said of the artwork on offer, “Banksy is a very popular artist at auction,” he said, “and there is a lot of interest in his work.”
Potential buyers will also be able to bid on the painting in cash, and when asked whether Sotheby’s would hold its cryptocurrency in an account or immediately transfer it in cash, Stewart said it would be up to the owner of the painting.
“Part of the partnership with Coinbase gives us not only the ability to process the payment,” he said, “but actually that capability (keeping the cryptocurrency on an account).”
Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are created using computer code, which is stored on many decentralized computers, making them safe
Shares of Bitcoin hit more than $ 5,5400 on Tuesday morning, following the announcement that Sotheby’s would accept the digital currency
This is not the first time that an auction house has decided to experiment with new technology.
In March, UK auction house Christie’s sold a digital art file known as a Non-Fungible-Token (NFT).
NFTs are units of data stored on a blockchain that represent a unique digital file – be it an audio, video or art file.
They can be widely shared by other people and can include popular tweets or memes.
But when a person buys an NFT, they really buy a token that confirms ownership of the original file, with some experts predicting that NFTs can rise in popularity like cryptocurrencies have.
The NFT ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ – a digital artwork by American artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, sold for nearly $ 70 million.
Christie’s, a UK auction house, first sold this digital image entitled ‘Everydays – The first 5,000 Days’ at auction in March for nearly $ 70 million.
A month later, Sotheby’s also decided to sell its own NFT from the anonymous artist Pak at auction to connect with a new audience of art collectors.
Max Moore, the specialist responsible for that auction, said in one New York Times article that NFT buyers are generally ‘younger and more digitally indigenous than other collectors’.
‘We wanted to understand what determines their taste and collection style.’
The sale drew more than 3,000 bidders, said Charles Stewart, CEO of Sotheby, “so it really made us think we should take this next step and start accepting crypto as payment for physical art as well.”
He said cryptocurrency is just a reality in today’s society.
The digital money is already being accepted at a range of companies and firms, including Tesla, Whole Foods and Overstock.com.
“I think we definitely see interest in the portion of cryptocurrency owners who want to participate, pushing them into the physical world,” Stewart said.
“I certainly think we will expand the audience with this,” he added, “and it is certainly something we will explore in the future, although we are absolutely excited to see how that first step in this direction goes.”
If things go well, Coinbase officials said, it could pave the way for other auction houses to accept cryptocurrency as well.
WHAT IS BITCOIN AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
What are bitcoins?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency – an online type of money created using computer code.
It was invented in 2009 by someone calling himself Satoshi Nakamoto – a mysterious computer encoder who has never been found or identified himself.
Bitcoins are created without using intermediaries – meaning no bank charges a fee when they are exchanged.
They are stored in so-called virtual wallets, also called blockchains, that keep track of your money.
One of its selling points is that it can be used to buy things anonymously.
However, this has left the currency open to criticism and calls for tougher regulation as terrorists and criminals are used to dealing drugs and weapons.
How are they made?
Bitcoins are created through a process known as ‘mining’, where computers solve difficult math problems with a 64-digit solution.
Every time a new math problem is solved, a new Bitcoin is produced.
Some people make powerful computers for the sole purpose of making Bitcoins.
But the number that can be produced is limited – meaning the currency must maintain a certain level of value.
Why are they popular?
Some people appreciate Bitcoin for being a form of currency that eliminates the need for bank intermediaries and the government – a form of peer-to-peer currency exchange.
And all transactions are publicly recorded, so it is very difficult to forge.
Its value soared in 2017, beating the 17th century ‘tulip mania’ and the dotcom boom of the early 2000s to become the largest bubble in history.
But the bubble seemed to have burst and questions arose as to which market is for it in the long run.
However, it has exploded since then, surpassing the $ 60,000 mark for the first time in March 2021.