Sotheby’s Accepts Crypto Via Coinbase For Banksy Art

Jul 28, 2021

The fine art auction house, Sotheby’s, has offered a new payment option in which both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) will be accepted as payment for all physical artwork. This innovative feature will be facilitated in partnership with Coinbase. Coinbase is one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges. 

This partnership couldn’t be more befitting as the partnership brings together the world’s “biggest disruptors of finance” with one of the most famous “disruptors in the art world.”

Banksy’s, “Love is in the Air”, is considered an iconic image of protest and it will be up for auction at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on May 12 in New York. The bidding for this artwork is estimated to run between $3-5 million in U.S. dollars. 

The artwork is an oil on canvas painting featuring a protester throwing a bouquet of flowers. It is also featured in Banksy’s 2005 monograph, “Wall and Piece.”

For the first time, the buyer will have the possibility to pay the final bidding price with cryptocurrency

Enhancing The Client Buying Experience

Sotheby’s has been no stranger to experimentation with new technologies. Between April 12 and 14, Sotheby’s in collaboration with digital creator Pak, had a three day sale and auction of Pak’s non-fungible tokens or NFTs. Powered by blockchain technology, NFTs are unique pieces of digital media that are scarce. The sale generated $16.8 million during those three days. 

Now the decision to take cryptocurrency through Coinbase Commerce marks a landmark for Sotheby’s as it endeavors to lead the fine art market in the adoption of cryptocurrency and its technology. 

Stefan Pepe, Sotheby’s Chief Technology Officer had this to say:

“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.”

Honoring Banksy’s Legacy

Banksy, whose identity has never been officially confirmed, is one of the most famous and thought-provoking artists of the 21st century. His street art is politically-charged, satirical, and controversial. The England-based artist’s work can be found from the Gaza strip to New York City.  He is considered as the “disruptor par excellence of the art world”. 

Sotheby’s believes that by offering art collectors the possibility to purchase “Love is in the Air” with cryptocurrency, it honors Banksy’s work by linking his “signature painting” with a cutting edge payment solution. This is likely to open these types of sales to the up and coming generation of new art collectors who have already adapted to the digital evolution. 

Bringing Cryptocurrency Into Mainstream

With the use of a bespoke solution, Coinbase will be on hand to support payment on Sotheby’s website and assist in the management of price fluctuations. 

By integrating with Coinbase, Sotheby’s has proven that they are now evolving with their client base in order to serve cryptocurrency consumers. This is just the beginning of adopting the use of cryptocurrency across all of Sotheby’s auctions. 

Adoption Of Crypto Continues To Grow

It was reported that Bitcoin had reached a record high of just under $65,000, the latest milestone for this emerging asset. There is no doubt that the adoption on a global scale is well on its way. It has certainly made its way into the world of digital art. 

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