A print by Andy Warhol is to become the most valuable work of art ever sold to buyers using cryptocurrencies.
The work, titled 14 Small Electric Chairs, is to be auctioned at the Dadiani Fine Art in London’s well heeled Mayfair district on June 20. It’s valued at $5.6m, which is around 740 Bitcoin at the time of writing. However, given cryptocurreny’s enormous volatility that number is liable to rise and fall dramatically in the days leading up to the sale.
This is not the first piece of art to have been sold using cryptocurrency. There have been some intriguing sales of digital art over the past year, with a photograph of a rose by artist Kevin Abosch realising $1m (paid in Ethereum) in February.
However, this Warhol will be a real milestone. If it sells it will be the most valuable non-fiat (government backed) sale of an artwork.
Gallery owner Eleesa Dadiani explained her decision to accept cryptocurrency to luxury London magazine The Resident earlier this year: “[Cryptocurrency] is stateless. It is universal, if you like, because anybody with an internet connection can participate in this economy…
“It’s about serving as a conduit between a new source of wealth and traditional dealerships or old world dealerships that don’t accept cryptos but would still like to have new clients. There are the people who made a lot of money who now can’t cash out…
“The natural conversion will be not from crypto to fiat but from crypto to assets.”
While Dadiani Fine Art is on the front lines of this change, we’re already seeing interest from big auction houses. Former NFL lineman Evan Mathis made his 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle available to bidders using cryptocurrency in an auction at Heritage Auctions earlier this year.
As this technology becomes embedded in the industry, sales using cryptocurrency will no longer be newsworthy events. Given the enormous amount of money tied up in the field, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the norm.