Sotheby’s to Accept Crypto as Payment for Banksy Artwork

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is partnering with the auction house for the groundbreaking sale.

May 4, 2021 at 1:37 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:50 p.m. UTC

Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrency as payment for an artwork by pseudonymous artist Banksy in a first for the 277-year-old auction house.

  • Payment for the work called “Love is in the Air” – estimated to fetch $3 million-$5 million – will be accepted in bitcoin and ethereum, as well as U.S. dollars, according to an emailed announcement Tuesday.
  • Sotheby’s said the May 12 auction would be the first time a major auction house has sold a physical artwork for cryptocurrency.
  • Cryptocurrency transactions relating to the sale are being enabled by Coinbase via its merchant blockchain service, Coinbase Commerce. 
  • "With the growing adoption of digital art and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), along with our increased focus on digital innovation, we've seen an increasing appetite among collectors for more seamless payment options when doing business with Sotheby's,” said Stefan Pepe, chief technology officer at Sotheby's.
  • New York-based Sotheby's has previously delved into crypto with NFTs, facilitating the sale of works by the artist Pakfor $16.8 million in April.

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