International auction house Sotheby’s will accept payment in Bitcoin or Ether at the sale of a 101.38-carat diamond this Friday, marking another milestone in the adoption of cryptocurrencies.
The pear-shaped flawless diamond could fetch as much as $15 million in the single-lot sale in Hong Kong, the most expensive physical object ever publicly offered for purchase with cryptocurrency, according to Sotheby’s.
Josh Pullan, managing director of Sotheby’s global luxury division, said there was growing demand for precious gems, increasingly from a “younger, digitally native generation, many of whom are in Asia.” Fewer than 10 diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have ever come to auction, with only two of them pear-shaped.
Auction houses are increasingly accepting cryptocurrencies for payment, with Phillips offering a piece from street artist Banksy last month for Ether or Bitcoin. Christie’s also allowed payment in Ether for a set of digital artworks in February.
George Bak, a Switzerland-based art adviser and curator for the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art, who specializes in blockchain technologies, said that many auction house executives were surprised by the fervent interest from collectors who wanted to pay in cryptocurrency.