Paid for with crypto! Sotheby’s auctions rare luxury diamond for $12 million

July 21, 2021

Paid for with crypto! Sotheby's auctions rare luxury diamond for $12 million
Cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used in the art world. Now the traditional auction house Sotheby's has sold a type "IIa" diamond - for a cryptocurrency worth $12 million.

Payment can be made in BTC or ETH

Sotheby's is considered one of the world's leading companies in the art and antiques market. The tradition-rich company has existed since 1744 and has centres in New York, London, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong. Now the famous auction house has announced: It has sold a type IIa diamond for $12 million and accepted a cryptocurrency as payment.

The company about the sale:

"In recent months, cryptocurrencies have begun to make a name for themselves in the world of physical art and objects. Today, they take their biggest step yet, as Sotheby's announces that cryptocurrency will be accepted as payment for one of the rarest and greatest treasures on earth - an extraordinary 101.38-carat pear-shaped D Flawless diamond."

According to Sotheby's, this is a particularly rare type of diamond that is also considered the most chemically pure. The diamond is called "Key 101.38" and is, according to Sotheby's, the second largest pear-shaped diamond ever sold to the public. So it goes without saying that the gem comes with a "certificate of authenticity" and a monograph:

"Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency. The GIA report is also accompanied by a monograph."

Diamond holds sales record

Sotheby's points out, "Cryptocurrency as a means of payment - this marks a significant moment in the evolution of the market. For the diamond holds a special record: no other physical object with an estimate even close to the US$10-15 million the diamond is worth has ever been publicly offered for sale with a cryptocurrency (although the company is silent about which cryptocurrency the diamond was paid for in).

Another art record is also directly related to cryptocurrencies: In December, the US artist "Beeple" sold a collection of his digital artworks at Christie's auction house - for the equivalent of 69 million dollars in Ethereum.

Bitcoin bull run over BTC transaction fees fall to 2020 lows

This probably also caught the attention of the decision-makers at Sotheby's, because shortly afterwards the New York auction house was also in the headlines on the topic of cryptocurrencies: At that time, they announced that they would now accept payments in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum (to be bought at eToro or Libertex). The crypto purchases at Sotheby's are processed via the crypto exchange Coinbase Commerce.

For auction houses, cryptocurrencies are attractive means of payment because they automatically expand the spectrum of potential customers. Conversely, blockchain technology gives many digital artists the opportunity to monetise their works for the first time. The gigantic demand for corresponding offers has, for example, brought NFT portals such as, Mintable or OpenSea into being.

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About the author

Hi there, my name is Zalman Weinberg. I'm enthusiast with over 7 years of experience in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professional Trader providing Blockchain solutions to Startups and Enterprises. Expert in all cryptocurrency exchange APIs (BitMEX, Bittrex, Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken, Poloniex, Gdax etc.). I have also worked with multiple Forex broker APIs.

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