Sotheby’s Debuts Peer-to-Peer Fine Art NFT Marketplace

Credit: Sam Spratt // Osinachi (Sotheby's)

Sotheby’s, the famed auction house originally founded in the United Kingdom, has launched the next phase in its Web3 outreach: a peer-to-peer NFT marketplace that will run on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains and facilitate the sale of fine art curated from the company’s in-house digital art specialists.

To mark the launch of its new marketplace, Sotheby’s is giving collectors the chance to buy and sell artworks from 13 of the top Web3 artists, including Tyler Hobbs, XCOPY, Claire Silver, Diana Sinclair, Sarah Zucker, IX Shells, Refik Anadol, Sofia Crespo, Pindar van Arman, and more. Trading on the platform will be done in ETH and MATIC, the native coins of the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains.

Sotheby’s has said that its new marketplace will protect artist royalties, a key issue for many artists that have seen their secondary commissions sliced as mainstream NFT marketplaces cut royalties to gain market share. The auction house will honor these royalties and indicated that this move is part of its larger ethos.

The new peer-to-peer marketplace is an expansion of Sotheby’s Metaverse, which launched in October of 2021. At the time, Sotheby’s hailed the initiative as an “industry first” and claimed it was the only auction house to create an NFT marketplace designed for the sale of non-fungible tokens.

In a press release shared with Rarity Sniper, Sebastian Fahey, Sotheby’s Managing Director, EMEA, and Executive Lead for Sotheby’s Metaverse, said the first phase of its Metaverse project showed a community traditional collectors and digital art natives could form around the auction house’s platform.

“Now, we are continuing to advance and evolve our platform to offer new and more seamless ways for the community to discover and collect new forms of digital collectibles, from limited edition NFTs to unique works by the artists redefining perceptions of digital art,“ Fahey added.

Sotheby’s to Unveil Web3 Digital Art Gallery in June

Continuing its push into Web3, Sotheby’s plans to unveil a digital art gallery in June through a partnership with oncyber, a platform that allows organizations to showcase NFTs in a fully immersive environment. To do so, it is partnering with renowned NFT art collector Cozomo de’ Medici, who will hand-pick artworks to go in one of the rooms.

While Sotheby’s current initiatives come at a difficult time for the NFT space, the auction house has shown commitment to Web3, even as many companies have put a hold on their plans for the metaverse, non-fungible tokens, and even cryptocurrency. It became the first auction house to accept cryptocurrency for a physical work (a painting by Banksy) and recently launched a sale of glitch art, though it wasn’t without controversy.

Rarity Sniper has featured the auction house several times in news articles during the bear market. Some of the headlines include:

Time will tell how the NFT community will react to the Sotheby’s peer-to-peer NFT marketplace, but there’s no doubt Sotheby’s is making moves in the space. Rarity Sniper will be here to report back with the next one it does.