Sotheby’s now accepts bitcoin and ether
Sotheby’s now accepts bitcoin and ether

Sotheby’s now accepts bitcoin and ether

By Marco Cavicchioli - 5 May 2021

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It’s official: Sotheby’s now also accepts payments in cryptocurrencies, and in particular in bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH)

Indeed, the official website of the famous auction house has even published a FAQ page dedicated specifically to cryptocurrencies.

For the time being, only Banksy‘s Love is in the Air is on sale and it will only be possible to pay in cryptocurrencies using third-party wallets managed by Coinbase, Coinbase Custody, Gemini, Paxos and Fidelity Digital Assets Services. In other words, it will not be possible to make cryptocurrency payments from proprietary wallets. 

In order to pay in crypto, it will be necessary to provide the wallet information before the sale, most likely to avoid problems with anti-money laundering regulations. 

This service is being offered by Sotheby’s in partnership with Coinbase Commerce, and in this regard the company says:

“The decision to accept cryptocurrency via Coinbase Commerce marks an important next step for Sotheby’s as it aims to continue to lead the fine art market in the adoption of crypto technology, as well as re-imagining and expanding the possibilities of an auction house”.

Sotheby’s experiments with Bitcoin

The first work to be sold in this way was not chosen at random. In fact, the choice fell on “one of the most notable disruptors in the art world”, Banksy, to stand alongside “the biggest disruptor in finance”, namely Bitcoin.

The auction will take place on 12 May in New York, will be conducted in US dollars, and is estimated to fetch between 3 and 5 million. 

Sotheby’s also adds that this project actually paves the way for further adoption of cryptocurrencies in its auctions, even though it should still be considered an experiment. 

The auction house is not new to the world of crypto as it has already successfully sold the NFT collection “The Fungible” by crypto artist Pak to many buyers who have bought from Sotheby’s for the first time in their lives. 

The auction house’s aim is precisely this: to use new solutions to open up to a new generation of collectors accustomed to the digital evolution. 

Sotheby’s CTO, cryptocurrency designer, commented: 

“With the growing adoption of digital art and NFTs, along with our increased focus on digital innovation, we’ve seen an increasing appetite among collectors for more seamless payment options when doing business with Sotheby’s.

Leveraging the trusted exchange Coinbase is a natural progression and is in line with our dedication to enhancing our client buying experience and developing new ways to expand our client base by meeting them where they are”.


Marco Cavicchioli

Born in 1975, Marco has been the first to talk about Bitcoin on YouTube in Italy. He founded and the Facebook group" Bitcoin Italia (open and without scam) ".

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