Sotheby’s, a major British-American art auction house, will accept payments with bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH). Charles F. Stewart, CEO of Sotheby’s, just announced this during the “Squawk Box” program of news channel CNBC:
Sotheby’s will launch the option to pay with cryptocurrency next week. This will be accompanied by the auction of “Love is in the Air,” a work of art by the well-known British anonymous artist Banksy. It’s the very first time that crypto has been accepted at an auction for a physical work of art, Stewart says.
Sotheby is working with Coinbase (COIN) for this and payments will be made via the listed cryptocurrency exchange. Stewart says it will be up to the artists themselves whether they choose to keep their crypto or convert it to fiat currency. The CEO also reports that the collaboration with Coinbase gives the auction house the opportunity to store crypto itself.
Stewart said Sotheby’s is seeing an increase in crypto owners’ interest in participating in auctions. The auction house already ventured into the crypto market a few weeks ago with the auction of a selection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These sold for nearly $ 17 million between April 12 and 14.
The other major UK auction house, Christie’s, sold a Beeple NFT artwork in March for a record $ 69 million. The auction of Banksy’s “Love is in the Air” will take place on May 12th. Stewart expects the artwork to raise about $ 3 to $ 5 million, possibly in bitcoin, but that could also be in fiat currency.