World renowned auctioneers Sotherbys to accept crypto to settle purchase for winner of a rare 100 carat diamond, with Asia chairman Patti Wong describing the event as a “truly symbolic moment”.
Long regarded as the world’s premier auction house, this is not the first time Sotherbys have been crypto-trend setters, previously hosting NFT’s including the wildly successful CryptoPunks range, as well as accepting crypto transactions for Banksy art pieces. But this is a first, especially in the more traditional world of high-value physical goods auctions, and the lot in question is a rare pear shaped 101.38 Carat diamond.
The catalogue notes describe the diamond as a type IIa diamond, D-Colour, Flawless. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure kind of the precious stone, and often have exceptional optical transparency. The diamond is named “The Key 101.38”, a name apparently chosen to represent the past, present and future, with the story being that keys, like diamonds, are symbolic representations of power and freedom. The key in this case being a nod to ownership of the private keys which are required for crypto transactions.
“We wanted to celebrate this enlightening virtue, while also alluding to the crucial function of digital keys in the world of NFTs and cryptocurrency”Wenhao Yu, Deputy Chairperson of Jewelry, Sotherbys Asia.
The auction will be held as a single-lot sale held at their Hong Kong room on July 9th 2021, with an estimated sale price of between $10M – $15M. A hybrid online bidding process is said to be open later this week.
Coinbase Commerce is lined up to process the transaction if the winning bidder chooses to settle the transaction using cryptocurrency. It is not clear whether the Chinese government, which controls Hong Kong, and which has recently banned both bitcoin mining, and appears to be on a crusade to eliminate cryptocurrency altogether, is happy with this, but we are assuming that when it comes to something only available to the wealthy elites and not the common folk that they will be more than happy with this arrangement.