In a first, Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrencies for rare pear-shaped diamond expected to fetch $15m

For the first time in its history, Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrencies for a rare pear-shaped diamond which is expected to fetch as much as $15m (£10.9m) at an auction next month.

The announcement was made by Sotheby’s auction house on Monday as it said it would be the first time a diamond of such size has been offered for public purchase with cryptocurrency. It said that prior to this no other physical object of such high value has been available for sale with cryptocurrency.

The pear-shaped diamond, named “The Key 10138” and weighing 101.38 carats, is described by the Sotheby’s as “exceptional and magnificent unmounted diamond.” The name of the diamond is intended to reflect the integral role that keys occupy in the world of cryptocurrencies.

The gem is claimed to be one of just ten diamonds of more than 100 carats ever to come to auction, only two of which were pear-shaped. Pear-shaped diamonds are among the most sought after in the world. The 530 carat Cullinan 1 diamond, which forms part of Britain’s Crown Jewels, is the most famous example.

The pre-sale estimate for the 9 July auction of the diamond is $10m-$15m (£7.2m – £10.9m) where payment through traditional money or cryptocurrency will be accepted.

In a statement, Patti Wong, who is the chairperson of Sotheby’s Asia, said it 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,” she said.

In May, Sotheby’s had sold a Banksy for $12.9m (£9.3m) million in the first instance of a work of physical art sold by a major auction house that was bought with cryptocurrency.

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The news is certainly a relief for cryptocurrency followers and investors who are witnessing a volatile time. Over the last few days, the crypto market has dropped dramatically due to regulation fears in China. The prices of major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin have witnessed a sharp decrease.

Since Sunday, nearly $200 billion (£144.7 billion) was wiped from the cryptocurrency market in addition to a further $200 billion in losses over the last seven days.

In April, reports about an Indian government bill for the creation of a cryptocurrency by the country’s central bank had got many investors worried.

However, there have been some positive instances as well for cryptocurrency investors. For instance, El Salvador earlier this month became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.

Additional reporting by agencies


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