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Graphic shows bitcoin's march towards the mainstream.


Bitcoin’s road to mainstream

By Duncan Mil

May 12, 2021 - Bitcoin hit a record high in April, driven by investors seeking high-yielding assets amid low-interest rates. Sotheby’s has now accepted cryptocurrency for the first time as payment for a piece of fine art.

On Wednesday (May 12), the auction house announced that “Love is in the Air” by Banksy sold for $12.9 million in an auction that lasted 14 minutes and involved four bidders.

The auction is the first time a cryptocurrency, including bitcoin and ethereum (ether), has been accepted as a payment for a physical artwork by a fine art auction house.

Cryptocurrency is money created using secure computer technology known as blockchain. Sotheby’s allows the artwork’s seller the chance to accept payment from them in the form of bitcoin, ether, or to have it exchanged for old-fashioned cash using cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.

Love is in the Air, created in 2005 with spray paint and oil on canvas, is one of the British artist’s most iconic images. The painting depicts an archetypal protester preparing to hurl a bomb toward an unseen foe, but his projectile is a bunch of hand-painted flowers.

PUBLISHED: 13/05/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press, Sotheby’s