For the first time at a major auction house, Sotheby’s will accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) as payment for a physical artwork. It will be made possible thanks to a collaboration with Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Banksy’s iconic protest image Love is in the Air will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 12 May in New York. Bidding for the work, estimated at $3/5 million, will be conducted in USD, but now the buyer will, for the first time, also have the option to pay the price with cryptocurrency.
The new arrangement follows the success of ‘The Fungible’ Collection, Sotheby’s debut NFT sale with the crypto designer-native artist Pak that had participation from more than 3,000 unique collectors. With the decision to accept cryptocurrency via Coinbase Commerce, Sotheby’s leads the fine art market in the adoption of crypto technology, as well as re-imagining and expanding the possibilities of an auction house.
By offering collectors the opportunity to obtain Love is in the Air with cryptocurrency, Sotheby’s pays homage to Banksy’s legacy by combining this signature paint with an innovative and first-of-its-kind payment solution.
Currently on view at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries through Wednesday, 12 May, before the Contemporary Art Evening Sale begins at 7pm ET, Love is in the Air depicts an angry young man wearing a bandana as a mask, in the action of throwing what could be a rock or a Molotov cocktail, but instead is a bouquet of flowers. It appeared as graffiti in the Gaza strip area of Jerusalem as a suggestion by Banksy that there still might be hope for a peaceful solution in the struggle between Palestine and Israel.