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The Banksy at auction on Sotheby's sold for 13 million - The Cryptonomist


en.cryptonomist.ch 13 May 2021 08:47, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

A few days ago, Sotheby’s announced that it was putting up a Banksy work for auction that could also be bought in cryptocurrencies (BTC and ETH). 

The auction took place yesterday and the work was sold for $12.9 million

On its Twitter profile, the famous auction house stated: 

“Following a 14-minute bidding battle between 4 bidders, Banksy’s iconic protest image ‘Love is in the Air’ achieves $12.9 million. The sale marks the first time cryptocurrency was accepted as a payment option for a physical artwork”.

#AuctionUpdate: Following a 14-minute bidding battle between 4 bidders, Banksy’s iconic protest image ‘Love is in the Air’ achieves $12.9 million. The sale marks the first time #cryptocurrency was accepted as a payment option for a physical artwork. #Banksy pic.twitter.com/uKIYeUu3IU

— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 12, 2021

However, it is not known whether the buyer decided to pay in crypto, or in dollars, nor is the identity known. 

Banksy’s artwork, entitled “Love is in the air“, had an estimated sale price of between 3 and 5 million, so the final amount was more than three times higher than the maximum expected

Sotheby’s: Banksy’s artwork accepts cryptocurrency payments

On the relevant page of Sotheby’s website it is stated: 

“This lot will accept cryptocurrency payment through a partnership between Sotheby’s and Coinbase Commerce. The integration will give the auction winner the option to pay the hammer price in either bitcoin or ethereum should they choose. The funds must be sent from an approved wallet or exchange, including: Coinbase, Coinbase Custody Trust, Fidelity Digital Assets Services, Gemini, or Paxos”.

The fact that the auction house in its tweet celebrating the multi-million dollar sale stresses once again that the purchase could be paid for in cryptocurrencies, suggests that perhaps these could have played some kind of role in the sale. 

The much higher-than-expected sale price could also suggest something similar, because there are several new cryptocurrency millionaires who may have taken part in the auction. 

For example, some time ago Justin Sun spent $6 million to buy an NFT-linked Beeple work at auction

In 2021, there are quite a few people who have become millionaires thanks to cryptocurrencies, so it is not at all absurd to think that that $12.9 million could have come from someone who had several BTC or ETH in their portfolio. 

Thanks to the success of this auction, it would not be surprising if Sotheby’s also decided to allow payments in BTC or ETH, or other cryptocurrencies, in the future. 


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