Sotheby’s Sells Rare Diamond for $12.3M in Crypto

The auction house said "a milestone was reached in the adoption of cryptocurrencies."

Jul 9, 2021 at 7:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:23 p.m. UTC

Sotheby’s, the 277-year-old British auction house, sold a rare 101.38-carat diamond for HK$95.1 million (US$12.3 million) in cryptocurrency on Friday in a Hong Kong auction to an anonymous buyer.

  • The auction house said the sale of the gemstone shows that a “milestone was reached in the adoption of cryptocurrencies.”
  • The diamond, dubbed “The Key 10138,” is the second-largest pear-shaped diamond ever to appear on the public market and came from the world-leading diamond company Diacore, said Sotheby's.
  • The auction house did not say in its release Friday which cryptocurrencies were used to pay for the diamond, but previously Sotheby's said it would accept bitcoin and ether for what it had estimated would be a sale of $15 million.
  • “By introducing this innovative payment option to our luxury sale, we open up new possibilities and expand our reach into a whole new clientele, many of whom are from the digitally savvy generation,” said Wenhao Yu, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery in Asia.
  • The acceptance of cryptocurrency as a supported payment option is a first for the auction house and the transaction will be processed by Coinbase Commerce.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.