Metaverse, NFT And More: Auctioneer Sotheby’s Sees Double Benefit To Crypto Wave

Metaverse, NFT And More: Auctioneer Sotheby's Sees Double Benefit To Crypto Wave
Metaverse, NFT And More: Auctioneer Sotheby's Sees Double Benefit To Crypto Wave

Sotheby’s is a nearly three-century-old auction business, but its senior executives want to embrace the bleeding edge of technology and all of its buzzwords, including metaverse, NFT, and crypto.

“The reason Sotheby’s has been around for 277 years is that we have a history of embracing innovation, and NFTs is no exception,” says Charles Stewart, the firm’s American chief executive, in an interview with AFP.

He’s referring to non-fungible tokens, which are ubiquitous digital artifacts tied to works of art or other goods, some of which the historic auction house has sold for millions of dollars in the last year.

And even better for Stewart’s business, he says there is plenty of cross-pollination between the old and new art worlds.

Charles Stewart On NFT

The traditional art world is hearing a lot about NFTs. Many don’t understand it. Some have embraced it. But there’s absolutely a curiosity,” he says on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“The same is true the other way around. (For) a lot of young technology investors — in particular founders, entrepreneurs — NFTs has been a gateway into the broader art market.”

Last year, crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun paid more than $70 million for a painting by Swiss-born 20th-century artist Alberto Giacometti at Sotheby’s.

A purchaser paid a comparable price for an NFT by a US artist known as Beeple at Christie’s, a competitor auction house.

Buyers of NFTs receive a validated entry on a blockchain, which is essentially a piece of computer code, rather than a tangible object.

The perceived rarity or fame of the thing determines its value, which is frequently influenced by celebrity endorsements.

Stewart is unfazed by such criticisms, predicting that the market will continue to boom. Sotheby’s has sold both CryptoPunks and Bored Apes for millions of dollars.

“We estimate the whole NFT market to be $40 to $50 billion this year,” he says.

Last year, the traditional art industry brought in roughly $50 billion in total.

“NFTs barely came into our collective understanding and consciousness a year ago, and you’ve seen a surge in interest since then,” he says.


Stewart says there is more to the NFT trade than hard cash.

“We’re not looking at it so much as a specific dollar or euro amount as we are just the engagement of an audience,” he says.

“Whether the prices rise or fall, if the interest is there if the engagement is there if new creators are connecting with audiences through NFTs and crypto, that’s an important trend that we’re going to invest behind.”

Read More: Uniswap ($UNI) Simplifies Giving Tokens to Ukraine, Polkadot Founder Donates $5.7 Million in $DOT


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