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News Report

Sotheby’s Continues to Support Crypto With Upcoming Rare Diamond Auction

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James

In Brief

  • Sotheby's is auctioning off an extremely rare diamond in July and bids will be accepted in Bitcoin or Ethereum along with traditional currency.
  • The diamond, named "The Key 10138," could fetch north of $15 million.
  • Sotheby's states it is the first time a diamond of this caliber would be auctioned off using cryptocurrency.
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World-famous auction house Sotheby’s has announced its most recent sale to incorporate cryptocurrency. Bids for a 101.38-carat diamond named “The Key 10138” will be accepted in cryptocurrency. 

The auction at Sotherby’s will be for an extremely rare pear-shaped diamond that could sell for close to $20 million. The Key 10138 is a 101.38-carat pear cut with a flawless grade from GIA and is one of just ten diamonds north of 100-carats ever to come to auction.

According to Sotheby’s, it is one of only a few faceted diamonds that weigh over 100 carats in recorded history. Rarer still is to find one with perfect color and clarity such as The Key 10138. The Cullinan 1 diamond, a 530-carat behemoth that is a part of Britain’s Crown Jewels, is the most well-known example. 

Bids will be accepted in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and traditional currency. The auction listing states that Sotheby’s would be the first auction house to offer such a valuable gem with the option to pay in cryptocurrency. The Key 10138 is the first important diamond in the world to be auctioned with cryptocurrency as an accepted method of payment. It was named to symbolize the unlocking of a new era in commerce and technology, and thus is a key to history.”

Sotheby’s continues to bring high-end auctions and crypto together

While the sale of The Key 10138 is a monumental moment for any gemstone fan, it is far from Sotheby’s first foray into auctions involving blockchain. After selling its first NFT in April from anonymous digital artist Pak, they held a similar auction for Banksy in May. Those sales netted  $16.8 million and $12.9M respectively and helped spur on the NFT craze of 2021.

After the success of those two auctions, Sotheby’s followed up by recently selling a rare CryptoPunk NFT for $11.7 million. Aside from The Key 10138 which goes live July 9, Sotheby’s has another notable crypto-related auction on June 23 for the original source code for the World Wide Web as an NFT.

The winning bidder will also win a digital poster that contains each of the 9,555 lines of code along with a handwritten letter from the inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. 


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