Sotheby’s Auction Thrusts Ethereum Into the Mainstream

Gerelyn Terzo
Updated: Nov 19, 2021, 15:20 GMT+00:00

Sotheby's fielded real-time bids denominated in Ethereum for two Banksy pieces of artwork.

Sotheby’s Auction Thrusts Ethereum Into the Mainstream

Ethereum has played a major role in the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Beeple’s famous Everydays non-fungible token plus fees were paid for in Ethereum on the Christie’s auction platform. Not to be outdone, competing auction house Sotheby’s has ratcheted up its cryptocurrency services and thrust Ethereum into the mainstream in the process.

Sotheby’s already accepts crypto as a payment for physical works of art, but now it is taking it to the next level. The auction house kicked off its Ethereum push with an announcement that it would field real-time bids denominated in Ethereum for two Banksy pieces of artwork as part of what was called the “The Now Evening Auction.”

The artwork, “Trolley Hunters” and “Love Is In The Air,” sold for more than $12 million, or roughly 3 ETH. This gave some extremely high-net-worth art collectors exposure to crypto if they had not had it already. According to the Sotheby’s,

“The paradigm-shifting move marks the first time that a cryptocurrency will be used as the standard currency for bidding on physical artworks in real-time during a live auction.”


Constitution Drama

Sotheby’s was also the platform on which a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution was auctioned off. The document was ultimately sold for a cool $43 million, making it the priciest historic document to be auctioned off ever.

If the cryptocurrency community had their way, they would have been part of this piece of history. A recently launched DAO called ConstitutionDAO was created with the mission to score this item at the Sotheby’s auction. They had $45 million in their arsenal but were not the last bidder standing. The crypto community initially thought that the DAO had prevailed, which set off a wave of premature excitement on social media until ConstitutionDAO cleared things up.


The ConstitutionDAO team revealed that their bid was not the winning offer to obtain the historic copy of the U.S. Constitution but they patted themselves on the back for making history nonetheless.

About the Author

Gerelyn is a cryptocurrency and blockchain journalist who has been engaged in the space since mid-2017 when bitcoin was embarking on its first major bull run

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