Sotheby’s to Accept Cryptocurrency Payments for Rare Black Diamond

By Nicholas Dolinger
Nicholas Dolinger
Nicholas Dolinger
Nicholas Dolinger is a business reporter for The Epoch Times.
January 17, 2022Updated: January 17, 2022

The British auction house Sotheby’s announced that they will be accepting payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or U.S. dollars for a rare black diamond known as “The Enigma.”

The 555.55-karat diamond is currently on show in Dubai, from whence it will travel to Los Angeles and London before going on a seven-day auction on Feb. 3. The Enigma, which holds the Guinness world record for the world’s largest cut diamond, is crafted to resemble the hamsa, an ancient North African symbol of protection associated with the number five. The Enigma draws upon the number as a motif, with 55 faces and the aforementioned karatage designed to reflect the concept.

Sotheby’s claims that the gemstone was created 2.6 billion years ago from the collision of a meteor or asteroid with the Earth, though the company’s press release designates that the origins of The Enigma are “shrouded in mystery,” in keeping with the theme.

The Enigma isn’t Sotheby’s first foray into cryptocurrency. Last July, the legacy auction house sold another diamond called “The Key” for $12.3 million in cryptocurrencies to an undisclosed buyer—only the most expensive in a series of high-profile cryptocurrency purchases of precious gemstones. Sotheby’s recently invested $20 million in establishing Mojito, their studio for minting non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

“This present sale is a continuation of our efforts to strive to lead the market given the strong cryptocurrency community,” said Sotheby’s executive Nikita Binani in a statment to CoinDesk. “I would hope that we’re able to attract them towards this diamond.”

These forays suggest that Sotheby’s is targeting a new demographic, the nouveau riche of cryptocurrency, for whom cryptocurrency is a lifestyle as much as it is an asset class. The 277-year-old company carries the gravity of its own heritage and tradition, but it has not shied away from attempting to stay ahead of the curve as it caters to a new breed of investors.

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