Sotheby’s accepts BTC, ETH, USDC for black diamond The Enigma
Sotheby’s accepts BTC, ETH, USDC for black diamond The Enigma

Sotheby’s accepts BTC, ETH, USDC for black diamond The Enigma

By Stefania Stimolo - 19 Jan 2022

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British auction house Sotheby’s is accepting Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (BTC) or USD Coin (USDC) for the auction of a rare 555.55 carat black diamond: “The Enigma”. 

Sotheby’s accepts cryptocurrencies for The Enigma diamond

According to Sotheby’s itself, “The Enigma” appears to be an extremely rare black diamond, described as a “treasure from interstellar space”. Here is how it is described: 

“To have a natural faceted black diamond of this size is an extremely rare occurrence and its origins are shrouded in mystery – thought to have been created either from a meteoric impact or having actually emerged from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth”.

Shown to journalists as part of a tour of Dubai and Los Angeles, the rare 555.55-carat black diamond will be auctioned from 3 February in London. 

To purchase “The Enigma”, Sotheby’s has made it official that it will accept payment in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (BTC) or the stablecoin of USD Coin (USDC)

Something that has happened before and seems to have left its mark on the 277-year-old British auction house. Sotheby’s expects The Enigma to sell for at least GBP 5 million (USD 6.8 million). 

Sotheby's The Enigma
Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrencies for a rare diamond at auction

Sotheby’s and the auction of diamonds payable in BTC and ETH

Back in June 2021, Sotheby’s announced that for the first time it would accept payments in Bitcoin and Ethereum for the auction of ‘The Key 10138’ diamond, with an estimated value of $10-15 million. 

Something that has been called an “unprecedented move”, as it seems that no other physical object with an estimate of this calibre, has ever been publicly offered for purchase using cryptocurrencies. 

The auction took place on 9 July 2021, during Sotheby’s Luxury Edit in Asia, and the diamond in question, ‘The Key 10138’, is 101.38 carats, pear-shaped and D Flawless in colour. 

The outcome was a total success. The auction eventually closed for $12.3 million in cryptocurrency from an anonymous buyer. Something that left diamond collectors stunned, but also Sotheby’s, which in this regard points out that cryptocurrencies are increasingly present in the world of physical art and objects. 

Diamonds and physical artworks: Sotheby’s registers record prices in crypto

Another record-breaking price recorded by Sotheby’s, was the auction of Banksy’s work, “Love is in the Air”, which closed at $12.9 million, with the option to pay in BTC and ETH. The auction had lasted a full 14 minutes, with a bidding battle between four bidders

Payments in crypto are possible thanks to the partnership between Sotheby’s and Coinbase Commerce. 

Stefania Stimolo

Graduated in Marketing and Communication, Stefania is an explorer of innovative opportunities. She started out as a Sales Assistant for e-commerce, and in 2016 she began to develop a passion for the digital world, initially in the Network Marketing sector, where she discovered and became passionate about the ideals behind Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, which lead her to work as a copywriter and translator for ICO projects and blogs, and organize introductory courses.

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