As further evidence of the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the art world, the leading American auction house will accept cryptocurrencies as payment for a series of paintings. Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection is up for auction by Phillips, with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) listed as payment options.
The unique 16-foot “Untitled” painting from 1982 is valued at “about $70 million” (about 1,650 Bitcoin or 25,513 ETH). It was launched under the hammer in New York on May 18.
Scott Nussbaum, chief international specialist for 20th century and contemporary art at Philips, told Cointelegraph that buyers are “interested in cryptocurrency as a way to pay for traditional art.”
Baqueira Mallery. Source: Philips
Given that “the beauty of Basquiat lies in his ability to inspire both experienced and new collectors,” “expanding” buyers’ ability to pay with cryptocurrency is a good move. Ultimately, Nussbaum explains, “the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as payment for other businesses will only increase.”
Nussbaum told Cointelegraph:
“Interest in cryptocurrency and NFT from the traditional art world is growing rapidly. While the future is unpredictable, we believe the intersection between the digital and traditional art world will only thrive.”
This is not the first time the auction house has explored cryptocurrency, although the previous sale was on a smaller scale. In June 2020, Phillips Banksy auctioned Coin, Bitcoin and Ether as accepted payments. It sold for about $3.2 million.
Coincidentally, Basquiat’s target of about $70 million was the hammer price for the infamous Beeple NFT auction that ended in March 2021. Auction house Christie’s led the sale, which inspired the auction house to move forward in cryptocurrency.
In November 2021, competing sellers accepted Sotheby’s real-time bid for Banksy Auctions. In May of the same year, Sotheby’s partnered with Coinbase to run Bitcoin and Ethereum auctions before taking responsibility for the cryptocurrency.
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Summing up the fashion for cryptocurrency in the art world, Nussbaum states that “there are many new collectors who are very excited about cryptocurrency.”
“It was only a matter of time before it became such an interesting payment method.”