Auctioneers Sotheby’s said on Tuesday it would accept Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment for an iconic Banksy artwork set to go under the hammer, a first for a physical art auction and the latest sign of growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies.
Bidding for the work “Love is in the Air” is estimated at $3 million to $5 million, Sotheby’s said, with the buyer having the option to pay with cryptocurrency.
The auction house has tied up with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc for the sale. In a blog post, Coinbase said it would help manage price fluctuations during the auction in New York next week.
Cryptocurrencies have already made a mark in the world of digital art.
A digital artwork – “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by American artist Mike Winkelmann, who is better known as Beeple – sold for nearly $70 million at Christie’s in March, in the first-ever sale by a major auction house of a piece of art that does not exist in physical form.
Coinbase said its partnership with Sotheby’s could pave the way for further adoption of cryptocurrency across the bidding house’s auctions.