The world’s largest broker of collectibles is set to make history with its latest auction that would see traditional money offers compete against crypto bids. In a historic first, Sotheby’s announced that it would allow cryptocurrency payment in exchange for its rare 101-carat diamond, which is expected to fetch up to $15 million.
Out of the ten 100+ carat diamonds that Sotheby’s auctioned in its history, the jewel in question, also dubbed as the Key 10138, is the second pear-shaped diamond of its kind. The name of the flawless diamond is intended to signify the substantial role played by keys in the world of cryptocurrencies.
The diamond carries a pre-sale estimate of $10 million to $15 million. For interested buyers, bidding will commence from June 25, with the final sale going live at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on July 9. For payments, the broker will accept Bitcoin or Ether along with traditional money.
Cryptocurrencies have had an eventful year so far, with their prices struggling against market volatility and authorities across the globe debating their legality. But there have also been upsides during this journey. Earlier this month, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. And most recently, the National Republican Congressional Committee in the US announced that it will accept crypto donations.
Art houses and brokers acknowledge that the influence of cryptocurrencies is on the rise and they need to adjust their business models to cater to investors of all kinds. And it appears Sotheby’s is leading this movement. In May, the broker sold a Banksy for $12.9 million and became the first major auction house to accept cryptocurrency payment for a physical work of art.
Sotheby’s has underlined that there is a growing number of young investors in Asia, keen on investing in diamonds, jewels, and other luxury items. The world-famous broker could tap this market segment successfully with its move to crypto payments.