Sotheby’s auction. house sees double benefit to crypto wave: embraces Metaverse and NFTs

March 4, 2020

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

Sotheby’s Auction house has already sold millions of dollars in NFTs, ubiquitous digital objects tied to art or other objects, over the past year. Sotheby’s auction house is nearly three centuries old, but its top executives are looking to embrace the cutting edge of technology and all of its buzzwords — metaverses, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and crypto among them.

Here’s what we know:

  • “The reason Sotheby’s has existed for 277 years is because we have a history of embracing innovation and so NFTs isn’t any completely different,” Charles Stewart, the agency’s American chief executive, said in an interview.
  • This was said in reference to the non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the ubiquitous digital objects that are linked to pieces of art or other items, some of which the ancient auction house has sold for millions of dollars over the past year.
  • The most famous collections — Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks — feature cartoon images replicated 10,000 times with algorithm-generated variations. The value comes from the supposed rarity or fame of the object, often driven by celebrity endorsements.
  • Crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun spent more than $70 million at Sotheby’s last year for a work by Swiss-born 20th artist Alberto Giacometti. At rival auction house Christie’s, a collector paid a similar amount for an NFT by an American artist named Beeple.
  • Stewart says, “This year we’re seeing the overall NFT market could be $40 or $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,02,891 crore or Rs. 3,78,680 crore)” he further adds, “It was only a year ago that NFTs burst onto our collective awareness and consciousness, and you’ve seen an explosion in interest since then.”
  • “Whether prices go up or down, if there is interest, if there is engagement, if new creators are engaging with audiences through NFTs and crypto, that is a significant trend that we are going to be investing in behind.”

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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