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Sotheby’s to Accept Crypto for Rare 100-Carat Diamond in Upcoming Auction

“The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency.”

Jun 21, 2021 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:14 p.m. UTC

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.  

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.

The Pink Star holds the record for the most expensive diamond ever sold, fetching an eye-popping $71 million at a Sotheby's auction in April 2017. The 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue sold for $50.6 million in a Christie's auction in May 2016. More recently, in 2020, a 14.83-carat diamond was sold by Sotheby's for $26.6 million.

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.

Correction (July 2, 15:59 UTC): The Pink Star holds the record for the most expensive diamond ever sold, not the Oppenheimer Blue. We regret the error.

DISCLOSURE

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