A Breakout Year for NFTs Entering the Mainstream: Top Auction House Sotheby’s’ Road to NFT Auctions

The century-old art auction house Sotheby’s said in its 2021 annual report that the total auction turnover in 2021 will reach 7.3 billion US dollars (about RMB 45.8 billion). It has set a historical record for more than two hundred years, and the auction turnover of NFT collectibles has reached as high as 100 million US dollars .

Although it is not much compared to the total turnover of 100 million US dollars, it is important to know that Sotheby’sfirst NFT auction started in April last year .

In addition, Sotheby’s said in the report that the launch of “Sotheby’s Metaverse” also attracted a lot of audiences. More than 78% of NFT bidders came to Sotheby’s for the first time, and more than half were under 40 . What did Sotheby’s do right by letting so many “young and promising” rich people participate in the auction?

Today, let us take stock of the story behind Sotheby’s “century-old brand” and its NFT auction road.

Sotheby’s Transformation under the Epidemic

Founded in 1744, Sotheby’s is a world-renowned art auction house and the first international auction house to enter the Chinese mainland market . At first, it mainly auctioned ancient books and books, and gradually expanded to jewelry, real estate, art and other categories. , has led the Asian modern and contemporary art market for seven consecutive years.

Affected by the epidemic in 2020, traditional auction houses such as Sotheby’s, which are highly dependent on offline activities, have been suspended. Like other industries, the auction industry has embarked on a road to seek transformation, that is, online auctions.

The first practice was Sotheby’s, which came up with a solution to use live webcasting and cross-city auctions. Auctioneers only need to interact with bidders through live broadcasts, and buyers bid through telephone, internet, or calligraphy and painting. Unexpectedly, the online bidding channel has been warmly praised and appreciated by customers and bidders, and has caused peers to follow suit .

“With the restrictions on on-site auctions, in order to meet collectors’ demand for top-quality artworks, vigorously promoting business digitization was the most critical decision last year. Through the development and application of technology, the auction has been successfully brought to another level, creating a new auction. The experience breaks through the boundaries of time and territory .” said Cheng Shoukang, CEO of Sotheby’s Asia.

Not only that, due to the move online, auction houses have also begun to place advertisements of various brands such as Bulgari and Samsung in the live broadcast, realizing additional income . In addition, just after the news that the annual turnover hit a new high, according to Bloomberg, the European telecom and media tycoon Patrick Drahi, who bought Sotheby’s for $3.7 billion in 2019, is considering letting Sotheby’s as soon as 2022. Listed in the United States for the third time .

Test the water NFT to open the world of digital art

On March 12 last year, an NFT work by crypto artist Beeple fetched a sky-high price of $69.34 million at Christie’s, making Beeple the highest-priced living artist after Jeff Koons and David Hockney, and made NFT popular overnight. Sweeping the field of art and leaping into the mainstream vision, it has become a hot topic in society .

Noah Davis, Art Specialist at Christie’s, said: “Never before at Christie’s has ever auctioned such a large and significant new media artwork, Beeple’s work presents collectors with a unique opportunity to have masterpieces created by leading digital artists using blockchain technology . “

Seeing that its peers have taken this step, Sotheby’s, which has always been on par with Christie’s, began to move quickly to test the waters of NFT art collections.

This was followed by an auction of NFT works by anonymous artist Pak in April, which fetched $16.8 million .According to the data, Pak is the first NFT crypto artist to earn $1 million from Ethereum blockchain artwork, and ranked first in the number of NFT works at the end of last year.

Although there is a big gap between this auction and the price auctioned by Christie’s Beeple, it also marks the beginning of Sotheby’s official entry into the NFT field , opening the way for the layout of NFT.

On June 30, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, completed the auction of the source code for the WWW NFT at Sotheby’s for $5.4 million .

A Breakout Year for NFTs Entering the Mainstream: Top Auction House Sotheby's' Road to NFT Auctions

Not only that, following the 21st Century Art Evening Auction at Christie’s New York on May 14 last year, the NFT workCryptoPunk was sold for $16.962 million . At the Sotheby’s auction in June, the Alien Punk with serial number 7523 was sold for $16.962 million. $11.8 million worth of ETH sold, setting a new auction record for a single Punk.

Then, in November, 101 NFT works from the collection of the Bored Ape Yacht Club were sold for a record price of $24.4 million at Sotheby’s in the UK, the largest ever transaction in the NFT field. This work is a collection of 10,000 cartoon apes, and it is also one of the top three NFT projects on the Ethereum NFT market OpenSea .

A Breakout Year for NFTs Entering the Mainstream: Top Auction House Sotheby's' Road to NFT Auctions

“More and more traditional art buyers are turning to NFTs,” said Michael Bhana, Sotheby’s contemporary art expert. In mid-to-late November, Sotheby’s two-week sale in New York came to an end, with a total sale of more than $2.3 billion. In this auction, in addition to the sky-high prices for artworks, NFT digital art also sold for extraordinary prices, and the auction volume increased significantly .

It can be said that the auction of digital artworks such as NFT has since set foot on the ship of the auction house and has become more and more popular.

Launched the Metaverse platform to build an ecosystem

On October 15th, Sotheby’s launched its own NFT trading platform, which will allow visitors to view digital artworks in auctions and learn about the collectors and artists behind NFTs, as well as allowing individuals to use ETH, BTC, USDC Or buy NFTs with fiat currency , a platform carefully curated by Sotheby’s.

In addition, a special page “Sotheby’s Metaverse” was launched on the official website, indicating that a new industry ecosystem will be built around “Sotheby’s Metaverse” , and Sotheby’s will be able to participate in some important NFT industry activities in the future. Won the C position in China, and has the ability to include dynamic auctions and casting works of art.

A Breakout Year for NFTs Entering the Mainstream: Top Auction House Sotheby's' Road to NFT Auctions

Regarding the layout of NFTs and the Metaverse, Sebastian Fahey, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Europe, said that NFTs are currently one of the most basic and exciting market innovations , although Sotheby’s has only scratched the surface of NFTs. But the future will push Sotheby’s to apply expertise and curation to the emerging art world of digital natives.

Different from the layout of other big factories, Sotheby’s, as a century-old art auction house, has enough professional accumulation and precipitation in art, and resolutely chooses to open such a route, which is undoubtedly an extreme recognition of NFT .

In addition, art sales is an important channel for NFT to go out of the circle. The blessing of a big company like Sotheby’s will accelerate the development of the entire digital art such as NFT, including the above-mentioned dynamic auction and the ability to cast art works, as well as the use of Expertise and curation applied to the emerging art world of digital natives .

This is good news for the future development of NFTs and artworks, but with the advent of the digital age, virtualization and digitization have become within reach, and in the future, the value definition of virtual assets and physical assets needs to be considered more .

The transformation of NFT value from hype to implementation

Sotheby’s layout of NFT is expected. After all, since the beginning of last year, the NFT wind has been blowing at home and abroad, Facebook, Nvidia, Tencent, ByteDance and other domestic and foreign manufacturers, as well as basketball player LaMelo Ball, famous singer Celebrities such as Lin Junjie are gradually participating .

At the same time, NFT is constantly breaking through the circles of art, film, and entertainment. For example, recently Wong Kar-wai cast unpublished clips from the first day of the movie “In the Mood for Love” into NFT, and SM, the “giant” of the Korean idol industry, announced its entry into NFT.

In addition, the outbreak of the concept of chain games and Metaverse has further contributed to the fuel, making NFT gradually become an important circulating commodity and payment method. Taking Decentraland as an example , each land in the game corresponds to an NFT, and the owner of each NFT represents that he owns it. ownership of this land.

Therefore, more and more investors and ordinary people are flocking to the NFT market.

The unique and indivisible characteristics of NFT make “everything can be NFT”, and all valuable things such as copyright, artwork, real estate, etc. can be put on the chain and presented with NFT, and the basic functions of NFT have been greatly recognized.

From the beginning of the year to now, NFTs have also become more and more mature in the hype, and recently even considered as an important building block for building Web3 and the Metaverse .

According to statistics, the total weekly transaction volume of NFT for the three major brands Nike, Adidas and Pepsi has exceeded 200 million US dollars, and the online auction volume of artworks is also rising steadily, and the market value has reached about 10.3 billion US dollars so far .

A Breakout Year for NFTs Entering the Mainstream: Top Auction House Sotheby's' Road to NFT Auctions

Image source: nftgo

Nansen CEO Alex Svanevik once said that DeFi brings capital into the crypto space, while NFT brings people into the crypto space. It is true that the explosion of NFTs this year has attracted a lot of people to the encryption field, which is a big step forward for the development of the encryption industry. In addition, with the frenzy of NFTs out of the circle,perhaps the large-scale commercial use of NFTs will blossom everywhere in the future .


But despite this, for many ordinary people, it should be noted that the risk of buying NFTs is still very high . It is very likely that some works will be smashed in their hands after they are bought, and they need to be treated rationally.

Taking auction houses as an example, although many auction house experts understand art, they have limited understanding of the blockchain and crypto markets. We must not only have the courage to try, but also be patient enough to wait .

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/a-breakout-year-for-nfts-entering-the-mainstream-top-auction-house-sothebys-road-to-nft-auctions/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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