Auction house Sotheby's to accept bitcoin and ether for a physical artwork via Coinbase

Centuries-old auction house Sotheby's has collaborated with Coinbase to accept bitcoin and ether for a physical artwork for the first time.

The artwork, Love Is In The Air, is a painting by popular graffiti artist Banksy. It will be on auction on May 12 at Sotheby's New York. Bidding for the work is estimated at $3 to 5 million.

Sotheby's said the decision to accept crypto via Coinbase Commerce "marks an important next step" as it aims to continue leading the art market in the adoption of blockchain technology.

When asked if it would accept crypto for more physical artworks in the future, a spokesperson for the company declined to comment to The Block. But Sotheby's appears to be paving the way for further adoption of crypto.

Last month, the second-largest auction house in the world debuted a non-fungible token (NFT) sale that yielded nearly $17 million. The sale saw participation from more than 3,000 unique collectors, most of whom were first-time buyers with the auction house, said Sotheby's.

"With the growing adoption of digital art and NFTs, along with our increased focus on digital innovation, we've seen an increasing appetite among collectors for more seamless payment options when doing business with Sotheby's," said Sotheby's CTO Stefan Pepe. "Leveraging the trusted exchange Coinbase is a natural progression and is in line with our dedication to enhancing our client buying experience and developing new ways to expand our client base by meeting them where they are."