Two Bansky artworks were sold for 3,093 ethereum (ETH) – or over $12m (£9m, €10.6m) – on Thursday night at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City, owned by Sotheby’s Holdings (BID), in yet another sign that using cryptocurrencies for payment is becoming more mainstream.
The auction was the first event ever where bidders were making their offers in cryptocurrencies. Two paintings by pseudonymous England-based street artist Banksy, Trolley Hunters and Love is In The Air (2006), were on offer.
Sotheby’s has been accepting crypto payments since May 2021, but this was the first time Ether had been used as payment at the British-American auction house.
While contemporary artists like Banksy remain in demand in auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, there has been a clear push for NFTs as demonstrated by the launch of Sotheby’s ‘Metaverse’ platform which the auction house describes as “an immersive destination for collectors of digital art, offering a curated selection of NFTs”.
The virtual gallery held its first sale in October that included 53 works of art from 19 NFT collectors.
The continuing expansion and success of the cryptocurrency industry and the NFT space make it a lucrative partnership for auction houses.
NFT artist Beeple sold his latest piece called ‘Human One’, for an extraordinary $29m at Christie’s in a watershed moment for the NFT art market.