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.

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