Sotheby’s 555.55ct ‘Enigma diamond’ auction opens door to crypto bids

·1 min read

Iconic auction house Sotheby’s has decided to allow bids in cryptocurrency for its sale of the remarkable 555.55ct black diamond known as ‘The Enigma’.

The auction house made the decision to open the doors to bids in USDC, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

It comes fewer than three months after the success of ‘The Key 10138’ diamond auction back in July, which saw Sotheby’s match the diamond with a buyer in Hong Kong that paid $12.3m in cryptocurrency.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s targeting a new market?

Christie’s set the tone for crypto auctions with the now-famous sale of Mike Winkelmann’s ‘opus’ – a monolith-scale collage – drawing together 5,000 vibrant NFT pieces collated by the artist over the course of 5,000 days.

Offered as a single-lot, Winklemann’s piece sold for an eye-watering $69m, and put crypto firmly on the radar of auctioneers.

By November – works by Banksy were selling for Ethereum, and auctioneers were flogging NFTs in the metaverse.

Curiously, unlike the diamond auction last summer, Sotheby’s has made the choice to extend its accepted cryptocurrencies to USDC in a move likely taking aim at the profits of 2021.

Read more: Sotheby’s reveal NFT charity auction for frontline health workers.