Sotheby’s Sells Diamond For $12 Million in Cryptocurrency

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Cryptocurrencies have many use cases, and vanity is one of them.

Sotheby’s, one of the world’s most renowned auction houses, announced yesterday the sale of the second-largest pear-shaped diamond ever to be sold publicly, and the buyer paid in cryptocurrency.

The auction house did not disclose the winner’s information, but according to updated information shared on its official website, the mystery bidder paid for the diamond using cryptocurrency. Sotheby’s announced in June that it would accept Bitcoin or Ether as a form of payment.

The actual diamond auctioned by Sotheby's in cryptocurrency. Image Sotheby's via Twitter
The actual diamond was auctioned by Sotheby’s. Image Sotheby’s via Twitter

A $12 Million Diamond

The “Key 101.38” sold for about $12 million, making it the most expensive physical object ever auctioned using cryptocurrencies.

Previously, the crypto-sphere had another historical moment after the sale of an NFT created by the digital artist Beeple. His work “The First 5000 Days” was sold for more than 69 million dollars, making it the most expensive digital artwork in history. This also turned Bepple into one of the world’s 3 most expensive living artists.


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According to Sotheby’s disclosure, the piece of jewelry was chemically analyzed and categorized as a Type IIa diamond, i.e., “the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency.” As expected, the diamond was delivered with a certificate of authenticity.

Accompanied by a GIA report no. 6193169635, stating that the diamond is D Colour, Flawless; also accompanied by a diamond type classification letter stating that the diamond is determined to be a Type IIa diamond. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency. The GIA report is further accompanied by a monograph.

The auction was live-streamed and attracted few bidders. Reports say less than a dozen bids were made during the event.

Crypto + Art: A Good Couple

The art scene has benefited dramatically from blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

As time goes by, more and more auction houses are accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, which has allowed them to increase their spectrum of potential customers.

Shortly after the resounding success of Beeple’s NFT sale, Phillips auctioned a piece created by the famous street artist Bansky accepting Bitcoin and Ether as payment.

But beyond the usual auctions, blockchain technology has served to boost the career of several digital artists. Blockchain-powered auctions, where various addresses register their bids, and the ownership of the NFT is passed on to the highest bidder at the end of a predetermined time period, have served to propel the popularity of many artists and digital creators.

Thus, several NFT marketplaces such as Rarible, OpenSea, or Nifty Gateway have emerged.

But the blockchain has many unexplored use cases that could benefit artists. For example, a European court recently stripped off the copyrights of an artwork by the anonymous street artist Bansky because his anonymity prevented him from exercising his right. Proof of digital identity on a blockchain could be perfect for securing ownership of work, even from anonymity.

Artists and technologies are just starting a profitable relationship.

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