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Sotheby’s to accept cryptocurrency for first time as payment for rare diamond

·2-min read
The diamond, dubbed The Key 10138, is among just 10 diamonds of more than 100 carats to come to auction (REUTERS)
The diamond, dubbed The Key 10138, is among just 10 diamonds of more than 100 carats to come to auction (REUTERS)

Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrency for the first time as payment for a rare diamond which is expected to fetch more than £10m.

Traditional money will still be allowed but the buyer of the 101.38-carat pear-shaped diamond will also be able to use cryptocurrencies Ether or Bitcoin.

The diamond, dubbed The Key 10138, is among just 10 diamonds of more than 100 carats to come to auction.

It will be offered in an upcoming single-lot live sale in Hong Kong on July 9, with an estimated sale price of between £7.1m to £10.7m.

If it is purchased with crypto, the sale will be processed by Coinbase Commerce, Sotheby’s said.

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Yu Wenhao, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery in Asia, said: "This is a truly symbolic moment.

"The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency.

"Never was there a better moment to bring a world-class diamond such as this to the market."

The diamond belongs to Type IIa, a unique subgroup comprising less than 2 per cent of all gem diamonds, Sotheby’s said.

The pear-shaped cut echoes that of the Cullinan I, which is kept in the Tower of London and mounted in the Imperial Sceptre of Great Britain.

Sotheby’s announced it had started accepting cryptocurrency as payment for artworks in May. The auction house sold a Banksy which was bought with cryptocurrency.

The artist’s Love is in the Air artwork sold for $12.9 million in an auction that lasted 14 minutes and involved four bidders.

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