Sotheby’s accepting crypto for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was just a trial run.
The 277-year-old British auction house will be accepting bitcoin and ether for a rare 101.38-carat diamond that could fetch over $15 million at auction.
The auction house said the exceptionally rare rock will be sold in an upcoming single-lot sale to be held in Hong Kong on July 9. The acceptance of cryptocurrency as a supported payment option is a first.
Should it be bought with crypto, the transaction will be processed by Coinbase Commerce, Sotheby’s 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,” said Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.
Read more: Sotheby’s Opens Virtual Replica of Its London Galleries in Decentraland
Sotheby’s said 100-carat diamonds have achieved a “mythical status” and the pear-shaped cut echoes that of the “Cullinan I” currently residing in the Tower of London and mounted in the Imperial Sceptre of Great Britain.
Rare diamonds and their perceived value are due to canny marketing that, in the mid-20th century, created the almost universal expectation in Western countries that an engagement had to be marked by a diamond ring as a symbol of an eternal commitment, reports The Wall Street Journal.
In 2020, a flawless, 14.83-carat, pink Russian diamond was sold by Sotheby’s in Geneva, Switzerland, for a staggering $26.6 million. The Oppenheimer Blue holds the highest auction record for a diamond and sold for an eye-popping $50.6 million in May 2016. The 14.62-carat gem was sold by Christie’s auction house in Geneva.
In May, Sotheby’s announced it had started accepting cryptocurrency as payment for artworks. It also delved into the NFT market, facilitating the sale of works by the artist Pak for $16.8 million in April.