Sotheby’s may accept cryptocurrency in exchange for a physical artwork for the first time after a Wednesday auction, selling the Banksy painting Love Is in the Air for $12.9 million that comes with the option of paying by fiat or cryptocurrency. The art auction house tweeted, “Following a 14-minute bidding battle between 4 bidders, Banksy’s iconic protest image ‘Love is in the Air’ achieves $12.9 million. The sale marks the first time #cryptocurrency was accepted as a payment option for a physical artwork.” In recent months, the art market has been upended by non-fungible tokens (NFT), which rely on blockchain technology like cryptocurrencies do, including a $69 million price tag for an NFT by Beeple and a group that attempted to auction off an NFT of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting that would have come with the option of destroying the original. Sotheby’s announced in March it would auction off a series of NFTs in coming months.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Sotheby's had already sold the work for cryptocurrency.