Story at a glance

  • Sotheby’s accepted cryptocurrency for a Banksy work during its Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
  • The sale marks the first piece of physical art to be sold for cryptocurrency by a major auction house.
  • The selling of nonfungible tokens, known as NFTs, and the acceptance of cryptocurrency is a trend taking over the art world.

A Banksy work was sold for $12.9 million in cryptocurrency on Wednesday.

Love is in The Air by Banksy

"Love is in the Air," the secretive artist’s creation of oil and spray paint on canvas, was auctioned off through Sotheby’s for its Contemporary Art Evening Auction, becoming the first piece of physical art to be sold for cryptocurrency by a major auction house.


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The piece in question is of a protester in a backward hat and balaclava tossing a bouquet of flowers as opposed to a molotov cocktail.

In March, Sotheby’s announced it would accept cryptocurrency and auction nonfungible tokens, also known as NFTs.

Because digital art can so easily be replicated and reproduced, digital artists have begun using NFTs to mark their original works, a tech-heavy definition that boils down to something similar in concept to a coded digital trademark, and preserve its value.

Christie’s, a British auction house with a flagship in New York, made history as the first major auction house to sell an NFT in March. The NFT, "Everydays – The First 5000 Days" by the artist Beeple, is a digital compilation of 5,000 images, with Beeple creating one per day for 5,000 days. It was sold for $69.3 million.


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Published on May 13, 2021