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  • J McGlynn and M Bacina

Sotheby's accepts digital currency for street-artist Banksy's physical work

Updated: May 3

Not long ago, Sotheby's announced its second NFT auction to be held in June, foreshadowing a promise to present some of the most historically important NFTs to date and a diverse selection of ground breaking NFT artists.

Sotheby's has now made known that it will also be accepting digital currency as a form of payment for England-based street artist Banksy's piece, 'Love is in the air".

What makes this piece of news most significant is this will be the first time the fine arts company accepts digital currency for a physical work, as the previous and upcoming auctions have been for purely digital based NFTs.

The anonymous owner of the piece believes Banksy's art is the perfect match for this trailblazing event as he highlights both NFTs and Banksy's historically underestimated potential:

Banksy is the perfect artist to bring cryptocurrency into the traditional art scene. I think there are quite a few overlaps between those who collected Banksy early in his career with those who saw the potential for cryptocurrency early on as well—both groups had to have a contrarian streak that didn't care what the old guard thought.

Stefan Pepe, Sotheby's Chief Technology Officer, also saw the great benefits the use of blockchain technology can provide, attributing Sotheby's new move to enhancing current client experience.

He said:

[w]ith 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

Sotheby's is utilising Coinbase to provide conversion services for Bitcoin or Ether payments.

Expectations for the relatively well-known work (pictured above) are high, as valuers anticipate the piece to be sold for around US$3–5 million. The rush of NFTs and digital assets into the arena of high art may well be a further signal of greater adoption of digital assets in the mainstream. Time will tell.


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