Sotheby’s to Accept Ether in Live Bidding for Sale of Banksy’s Works


Sotheby’s auction house will be accepting Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency during live bidding for its upcoming virtual exhibition, where two of Banksy’s artworks will be up for sale.

The 277-year-old British auction house will be holding the auction on November 18 at its “headquarters” in Decentraland – a decentralised 3D virtual reality platform – making it the first to accept crypto as a form of payment for real-time auction physical artwork.

The auction, titled “The Now Evening Auction”, will be featuring Banksy’s “Trolley Hunters” and “Love Is In The Air” (2006).

British-born Banksy, whose identity remains anonymous, is globally known as one of the most prolific creators of the 21st century for his reputation as an artist-provocateur-phenomenon.

His artwork mainly comprises street art characterised by dark humour, satire, and subversive epigrams of commentaries on social or political aspects of contemporary society.

Sotheby’s said that although the bidding prices will be announced in ETH, winning bidders have the option to pay in either Ether, Bitcoin (BTC) or USD Coin (USDC).

This is not the first time Sotheby’s has accepted crypto as a form of payment. It first began accepting BTC and ETH as a form of payment for an auction, which was not virtual, back in May for Banksy’s “Love is in the Air” – an iconic protest-themed artwork. The payment method was facilitated in partnership with United States’ largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase.

In recent times, international auction houses have been moving vigorously into the crypto industry. In March of this year, British auction house Christie’s sold artist Mike Winkelmann’s digital artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” as an NFT at a record-setting price of nearly $70 million. In October 2020, Christie’s also sold a Bitcoin-themed art piece and NFT for over $130,000 and became the first to accept ETH as payment in a CryptoPunks auction it held in May of 2020. 

In October, Sotheby’s launched a new platform called “Sotheby’s Metaverse” that allows visitors to view digital artworks available at auction, as well as learn about the collectors and artists behind NFTs.

Art fans can tune in and follow the live-streamed broadcast on Sotheby’s social media channels for the upcoming Sotheby’s auction.
Image source: Shutterstock

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