Auction house Sotheby’s has expanded its presence in the cryptocurrency market after announcing that it will soon be hosting an auction for a rare pear-shaped diamond that will be the first important diamond to be auctioned with crypto as a payment option.
The auction, which will be held in Hong Kong on July 9, will see The Key 10138, a 101.38 carat Type IIa diamond, go under the hammer and is estimated to reach a price of between HK$78-HK$118mln (£7.2mln-£10.9mln).
The Key is one of only 10 diamonds of over 100 carats to come up for auction, with the winning bidder being able to pay for their purchase using Bitcoin or Ethereum as well as in traditional currency.
“[The diamond] was named to symbolise the unlocking of a new era in commerce and technology, and thus is a key to history. The Key 10138 will undoubtedly become a diamond that history remembers as it takes the culmination of humanity’s work and knowledge on diamonds thus far, and turns the key to unlock a still more brilliant future,” Sotheby’s said.
However, potential buyers looking to pay in crypto may end up parting with more of their holdings than they initially expected, with the price of Bitcoin down 1.2% over the last 24 hours at US$32,579 in early deals in London on Tuesday while Ethereum dropped 4.4% to US$1,937.
This isn’t the first time Sotheby’s has dipped its toe into the crypto market, having previously conducted auctions for several sets of rare non-fungible tokens (NFTs).