Buying in cryptocurrency
British artist Banksy's Love is in the Air will be sold at a Sotheby's auction in New York. According to the auction house's website on Tuesday, the artwork will be available for purchase for cryptocurrency for the first time.
According to organizers, the estimated value of Banksy's painting ranges from $3 million to $5 million. However, the highest bidder at the May 12 auction will pay for the painting with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin or Ethereum. Bids, however, will still have to be made in dollar terms.
"As one of the most celebrated and provocative artists of the 21st century, whose street and studio work has consistently pushed boundaries and sparked controversy around the world for its unique perspective on political and social issues, Banksy is undermining the foundations of the art world", the organisers said. They said that "by offering collectors the opportunity to buy Love is in the Air for cryptocurrency, Sotheby's is paying tribute to the artist's legacy".
"This distinctive innovation, which paves the way for the further use of cryptocurrencies in Sotheby's auctions, was a continuation of the auction house's experimentation with the application of new technologies", the press release stated. According to the organizers, the advent of the cryptocurrency payment feature "allows us to rethink and expand" the auction house's capabilities.
The painting is a canvas measuring 90 cm by 90 cm, signed by the author himself. The oil paint on the canvas depicts a protester throwing a bouquet of flowers. According to the description on Sotheby's website, the canvas is "a reminder of injustice and inequality" and "sends a message of hope". "Undoubtedly, this bold and declarative work has helped establish Banksy's place in art history, cementing his reputation as an artist who is willing to speak openly and loudly about his position", the organisers said.