Sotheby’s is set to accept payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for a rare 101-carat diamond next month in what it called a landmark moment for the industry.
The auctioneer claimed that no other object close to the diamond’s estimated cost of $10-15 million (£7-11 million) has ever been up for public purchase by cryptocurrency.
According to the auction house the stone, named the ‘Key 10138’ is only the second pear-shaped diamond of this size to ever appear at auction.
It is also the second-largest pear-shaped diamond ever to appear on the public market, Sotheby’s said.
It will be offered in a single-lot live sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on 9 July 2021, with bidding open online from 25 June 2021.
Payment in either Ether or Bitcoin will also be possible through Coinbase Commerce, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
“This is a truly symbolic moment,” said Wenhao Yu, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery in Asia. “The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency.
“Never was there a better moment to bring a world-class diamond such as this to the market.”
Meanwhile, Josh Pullan, managing director of Sotheby’s global luxury division, said: “Over the past year we’ve seen a voracious appetite for jewels and other luxury items from collectors across the globe.
“Increasingly that demand is coming from a younger, digitally native generation; many of whom are in Asia.
“We’re thrilled to present this exceptional diamond as the highlight of our cross-category Luxury Edit series in Hong Kong and to continue our commitment to innovation by accepting payment in cryptocurrency for this landmark item.”