Sotheby’s to Accept BTC, ETH or USDC in Auction of Rare Black Diamond Called ‘The Enigma’

The auction house sold a diamond for $12.3 million in cryptocurrency last July. Now Sotheby’s is doubling down on its outreach to the crypto nouveau riche.

AccessTimeIconJan 17, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:10 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Sotheby’s, the 277-year-old British auction house, said it will be accepting bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH) and the stablecoin USDC for the sale of a rare 555.55-carat diamond dubbed “The Enigma.”

Sotheby’s said the decision to sell the black diamond with crypto as a payment option is due to the success of an earlier auction it held in July. Diamond collectors were stunned when an anonymous buyer purchased a rare 101.38-carat diamond known as “The Key 10138” for $12.3 million in cryptocurrency during a single-lot sale in Hong Kong.

  • 'The Voice' Makes Its Way to the Metaverse
    12:43
    'The Voice' Makes Its Way to the Metaverse
  • Staking Has Been a Major Liquidity Sink for ETH: Coinbase Institutional
    00:53
    Staking Has Been a Major Liquidity Sink for ETH: Coinbase Institutional
  • Fantom Token Jumps; Dolce & Gabbana Sued for NFT Deliveries
    01:52
    Fantom Token Jumps; Dolce & Gabbana Sued for NFT Deliveries
  • What's the Key to Winning a Hackathon?
    00:32
    What's the Key to Winning a Hackathon?
  • “This present sale is a continuation of our efforts to strive to lead the market given the strong cryptocurrency community,” Nikita Binani, Sotheby’s jewelry specialist and head of sales in London, told CoinDesk. “I would hope that we’re able to attract them towards this diamond.”

    The Enigma is on tour and being displayed in Dubai, Los Angeles and London. If the diamond is purchased with crypto, the transaction will be processed by Coinbase Commerce, Sotheby’s said.

    “To have a natural-faceted black diamond of this size is an extremely rare occurrence and its origins are shrouded in mystery,” Sotheby’s wrote in a press release. “[It’s] thought to have been created either from a meteoric impact or having actually emerged from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth.”

    Serving the crypto riche

    It seems Sotheby’s has now identified a new demographic and is targeting the crypto nouveau riche with the sale of rare diamonds. Though BTC and ETH were supported for the previous diamond auction, USDC is a new addition.

    Currently, 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. Other notable sales include the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue sold for $50.6 million in a Christie's auction in May 2016. In 2020, a 14.83-carat diamond was sold by Sotheby's for $26.6 million.

    The Enigma will be auctioned in a single-lot online sale from Feb. 3–9.

    Disclosure

    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Tanzeel Akhtar

    Tanzeel Akhtar is a reporter based in London,UK.


    Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.