Luxury auction house Sotheby's is accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for a $15 million diamond

Luxury auction house Sotheby's is accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for a $15 million diamond
Sothebys auctioneers in the prestigious New Bond Street Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Sotheby's will allow bitcoin and ether payments in a Hong Kong diamond auction in July.
  • The rare 101-carat pear-shaped diamond is worth an estimated $10 million to $15 million.
  • The luxury auction house has previously accepted crypto payments for Banksy artwork and NFTs.
Sotheby's, one of the biggest luxury auction houses in the world, has said it will accept bitcoin and ether in payment for a rare 101-carat diamond with an estimated value of $10 million to $15 million when it is auctioned next month.

The pear-shaped diamond, named "The Key 10138", weighs 101.38 carats, has been classified as flawless and highly chemically pure, making it extremely rare, Sotheby's said. It is set to be sold in Hong Kong on July 9, and is expected to bring in between 78 million and 118 million Hong Kong dollars.

The auction house said it will accept bids in bitcoin and ether for the diamond, and it will take offers at the live sale or ahead of it.

"The Key 10138 is the first important diamond in the world to be auctioned with cryptocurrency as an accepted method of payment. It was named to symbolize the unlocking of a new era in commerce and technology, and thus is a key to history," Sotheby's said in auction details posted online.

The company has previously been open to cryptocurrency as payment, in the sale of a Banksy artwork in May and in the auction of a "CryptoPunk" non-fungible token, or NFT, earlier in June. One of a series of CryptoPunk characters, the "Covid Alien" sold for $11.8 million.


Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a factor in auction sales this year after crypto-hype exploded in the last 18 months. Items so far have mostly been limited to artwork or digital collectibles like NFTs, and the auction of a diamond marks a milestone for acceptance of digital currencies. Sotheby's itself described the sale as "a significant moment in the evolution of the market" in a tweet on Monday.

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