Sotheby’s make $15m diamond available for purchase with crypto

Auction house Sotheby’s is set to offer up a rare diamond, valued at up to $15 million, for purchase with cryptocurrencies.

The 277-year-old auction house claimed no other physical object of such high value has ever been offered for sale with cryptocurrency.

The 101.38-carat pear shaped colourless diamond is named Key 10138, a reference to a cryptocurrency “key”.

Cryptocurrency users can use a public key to receive payments into their “wallet” without requiring a third party to verify the transactions, but they need a second private key to access this wallet.

The auction will take place on July 9 in Hong Kong, with either traditional currency or cryptocurrency accepted as payment.

The current record for a diamond sold at auction is the $50.6 million paid for “Oppenheimer Blue” in May 2016 at Geneva auction house Christie’s.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said earlier this month the company could resume accepting bitcoin payments if they see proof of “reasonable clean energy” usage by bitcoin miners.

In May, the world’s largest consumer-to-consumer marketplace eBay said it is open to the idea of accepting cryptocurrency payments in the future.

“This is a truly symbolic moment,” said Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby's Asia. “The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency.”

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