Iconic auction house Sotheby's embrace of non-fungible tokens and Web 3.0 gave rise to the Sotheby's Metaverse — an immersive platform for purveyors of curated digital art.
Sotheby’s, in particular, has launched a new platform called Sotheby's Metaverse, purposely built for curated auctions of digital art as NFTs.
What is Sotheby’s Metaverse?
Sotheby’s Metaverse was launched on Oct. 14, 2021, to accommodate all of Sotheby’s future NFT sales. The platform is said to feature some of the technological advancements that enable seamless NFT auctions and offers the same level of experience associated with more established NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Nifty Gateway. The goal is to create an immersive NFT ecosystem while still preserving the high operation standards expected of a blue-chip auction house.
More specifically, the platform supports crypto payments. As such, it is safe to say that Sotheby’s is going all out to capitalize on the NFT boom and play a pivotal role in the emerging digital art space.
How Does Sotheby’s Metaverse Work?
As mentioned earlier, Sotheby’s Metaverse operates as an NFT marketplace, just like OpenSea. The only difference is that, unlike OpenSea, Sotheby’s offering does not conduct its auctions on-chain. Like any NFT marketplace, new users have to create an account to become eligible to buy NFTs on Sotheby’s. As part of the requirements imposed on buyers, you will have to fill a declaration statement where you are expected to provide a billing address, along with the appropriate documentation that proves your claim. Once all the documentation, including a government-issued ID card, has been verified, Sotheby’s will issue an invoice as well as a payment link for the NFT you intend to buy.
What Makes Sotheby’s Metaverse Unique?
Below are some of the unique features that set Sotheby’s Metaverse apart.
Since buyers are required to undergo an extensive identity verification process and auctions are conducted off-chain, there is absolutely no doubt that this NFT marketplace utilizes a centralized framework where Sotheby’s take up the role of an intermediary between the artists and the buyers.
Hybrid Payment Infrastructure
On Sotheby’s Metaverse, buyers can either make payments with fiat currency or cryptocurrency. The supported cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, USDC and Ether. It is worth noting that the platform does not receive payments from self-hosted wallets. To make crypto payments on Sotheby’s, you must send your coin from exchange wallets maintained by any of the following companies:
Coinbase Custody Trust
Coinbase, Inc. (including Coinbase, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime accounts)
Fidelity Digital Assets Services, LLC.
Gemini Trust Company, LLC
Paxos Trust Company, LLC.
Those looking to bid with fiat currencies could make payments with any of the conventional systems listed below:
Credit card up to $50,000 (Visa, AMEX, or Mastercard)
Natively Digital 1.2: The Collectors
Following the launch of the Metaverse, Sotheby’s announced that the first set of NFT auctions that will be conducted on the platform will take place between Oct. 18, 2021, to Oct. 26, 2021.
The 8-day auction successfully concluded with a total of $17 million in sales, with the highest being a rare Pepe NFT that went for $3.6 million.